Choir delves down under to Australia

Kelly E. Davis

The Missouri Southern choir took a trip to Australia in May as part of a concert tour, as well as to do some sightseeing, said Bud Clark, director of choral studies.

“We try to take a trip every two to four years,” Clark said. “The company we travel with informed us they had a new concert trip to Australia.”

It was open to all choir students. Clark said it was a “pretty expensive trip,” so only 24 people went. The institute for international studies helped with the cost of the trip “as much as they could,” but students had to cover the rest of the cost.

The choir was in Australia for ten days, and visited Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney. While in Canberra, the choir performed at a cathedral with another choir.

The remainder of their seven performances were at high-school level schools, called grammar schools in Australia, and the Music Conservatory of Sydney, which is college-level.

Clark described the Music Conservatory as an “interesting place.” The choir saw a rehearsal and performance there, and sang. At the grammar schools, the choir conducted clinic workshops, and were able to see what choir programs are like in Australia.

“I liked getting to talk with some of the college students there,” said Jennica White, senior vocal music performance major.

White also said it was “really neat” to sing with other choirs.

Vicki Hosfelt, senior vocal music education major, said her favorite concert was the one in Canberra, because they got to sing with another choir.

Aside from the educational aspects of the tour, the choir got to do “all the tourist type of things,” Clark said. “You don’t feel like you’ve gone to Australia unless you’ve seen the Sydney Opera House.”

The group took a tour of the opera house, and got to hear the Sydney Philharmonic Orchestra practicing.

For senior vocal music education major Christal Arnall, that was her favorite part of the trip.

“Actually getting to take a tour of the Sydney Opera House … I never thought I’d get a chance to step inside,” Arnall said.

Arnall, Hosfelt and White all agreed hearing the Sydney Philharmonic Orchestra practice was “amazing.”

Other activities the group participated in were visiting a wildlife area, where they got to pet koala bears and kangaroos, visiting a sheep farm and going on a dinner cruise.

Arnall said the wombats were bigger than she had imagined. At the sheep farm, they got to see a dog herd the sheep, and saw the sheep be sheared before eating a large barbecue dinner.

Hosfelt said they had T-bone steaks, and bottles of wine were on the tables.

“It was nice,” she said.

On the dinner cruise, the choir got to perform, and, according to Arnall, were the only Americans on board.

During some free time, senior vocal music education major Melanie Holt walked across the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge with two other classmates, which gave them panoramic views of the city.

“It was an exhilarating experience,” Holt said.

The students who went took an intersession class and got one hour worth of credit, though Clark said, “It was mostly for the experience and mostly for the excitement.”

“It was fun, no question about it,” said Clark. “We did get to do a lot of sightseeing, but at the same time, with the concerts, it was very educational for the kids as well as visiting the schools and seeing what their programs were like there.”

The next trip the choir will be taking is to England and Ireland, and will either be the year after next or later.

Countries the choir has visited in the past include Germany, Austria, Hungary, Italy, France and Switzerland.