There are many opportunities to experience during J-term. You can take a class, study abroad, get in hours at work or just relax. This year, the Hamline A Cappella Choir, composed of thirty-two Hamline undergraduates of all majors and years, travelled together through Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. As a member of the choir in the soprano one section, I can speak for us all when I say that the trip was fantastic! We were very lucky to have the opportunity to grow closer together on this trip. Here are some highlights from our travels…
Stop #1 : Germany!
Our experience in Germany was both incredible and unique. Starting in Rothemburg, we also travelled to Schney, Flossenbürg, Nürnburg, Coburg, Fürth and Bayreuth. You may not recognize a lot of these names because many of these are very small towns! Visiting small towns gave us an opportunity to give concerts at local churches where we also had dinner with the members of the church. It was amazing to connect with the local people at dinner and also in the homestays, where groups of 2-4 choir members slept over at a local family’s home during our stay. We visited the historical Rothenburg Fortress, Richard Wagner’s Concert Hall, the Franz Liszt Museum, Coburg Castle and the Nürnburg Castle. We also tried new foods, like schneeball, döner and sausages!
The beautful streets of Rothemburg. Photo courtesy of Emma Harrington.
View of Rothemburg from the surrounding wall. Photo courtesy of Emma Harrington
Stop #2: Salzburg, Austria!
In Salzburg, we enjoyed a walking tour of the city. We learned about Mozart’s birthplace and other important landmarks. When we had free time, we had many places to explore around the city, like the Mozart Café, the Hohensalzburg Fortress, the Salzburg Cathedral or the many shops in the area. Luckily, the day we were there was beautiful and sunny. On the mountaintop, the snow was glinting on the Alps in the distance. In Salzburg, the choir stayed in a hostel, which was a fantastic experience as well!
A Capella selfie at Andes Mountains. Photo courtesy of Emma Harrington.
View of Andes mountians in Salzburg. Photo courtesy of Emma Harrington
Stop #3: Vienna, Austria!
Vienna was the choir’s first experience in a bigger city. It gave us exposure to the Austrian public transportation system, as we stayed outside the city and took the subway into the city center. In Vienna, we had a bus tour as well as a walking tour. We saw many churches, a castle and had the opportunity to go shopping and experience the city, as well as visit the Albertina Art Museum (or Mozart’s grave!) We also finally got to stay in a fancy hotel! The architecture amazed us, and the musical atmosphere fit our group quite well.
Beautfiul architecture in Vienna. Photo courtesy of Emma Harrington.
Street view of Vienna. Photo courtesy of Emma Harrington.
Stop #4: Prague, Czech Republic!
Our final stop in central Europe was Prague, which, for many of us, was the favorite place we visited in our trip. On our guided tour, we walked around and appreciated the beautiful buildings. We walked through the Prague Castle, across the Charles Bridge, and saw the famous Astronomical clock. The A Cappella Choir gave their last concert in Prague, at an international school. We had such an incredible experience interacting with the students at the school because they were our age. With the students, we even sang pop songs together. They really connected to our choir music, and it was a truly beautiful last experience to have in tour of Europe!
Hamline A Cappella Choir’s tour of central Europe was twelve days full of fun, learning, history, sightseeing, singing, and bonding. From the small towns in Germany to the big cities of Vienna and Prague, we experienced so much and learned so much about ourselves as a choir!
The entire choir poses for a photo op at the Prague Castle overlooking the city. Photo courtesy of Hamline A Capella.
Town square of Prague. Photo courtesy of Emma Harrington.
An evening in Prague by town square. Photo courtesy of Emma Harrington