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by Abe Gruber, Choral Manager


On June 25, music in hand, the group left Hawai‘i on the first of three long flights to Europe to sing in Salzburg and Vienna in celebration of the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth. They stopped in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Munich, where they boarded a bus to Salzburg. The entire process of just getting to Austria took about 24 hours, enough to test even the most seasoned of travelers.

Once in Europe, the fun began.

Most of the 29 singers had never been out of the country before and were open to the new cultural experiences from the moment they stepped off the plane in Munich. After collecting their baggage, everyone headed straight for the food court, and not a single taste bud was disappointed.

“ Everything was fresh and delicious,” said freshman Raine Weiterman. “I would have never expected such high quality food for such a decent price at an airport.”

Their first real sit-down meal in Europe—and in more than 24 hours— was schnitzel, in Salzburg. While it was not the group’s normal diet—usually sushi, loco mocos, and spam musubi—many of the singers were pleasantly surprised by the traditional meal.

After checking into their hotel, the group finally met the other festival participants during a welcome dinner at which they were treated to the “Sounds of Salzburg.” This musical show included some of the more popular songs from The Sound of Music performed by a troupe of local thespians. It was an appropriate welcome to Austria.

The next morning, the HPU group proceeded to its first of many long and intense practices. As part of the 400-person ensemble, the IVE rehearsed Mozart’s Coronation Mass and several other challenging pieces.

“ We worked hard this summer,” said soprano Vienna Dumlao. “When we got to Austria, we were well prepared.” Even the festival conductors agreed. They showered the group with praise for its preparation and production during all of the rehearsals.

During their week-long tour, the HPU group did more than just sing. Between rehearsals, as part of the trip, the group was treated to tours of many beautiful Austrian sights, including the Salzburg Dome, Mozarthaus (Mozart’s birthplace), St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, and more.

Tours also included visits to Hellbrunn Palace and Mondsee, both places featured in the Sound of Music. Being musicians, everyone especially enjoyed the musical connections of all of the sights.
Rehearsals and tours behind them, the singers got down to business on June 30, in Salzburg, and July 2 in Vienna, when they performed in two very exciting concerts—the culmination of all the fundraising, travel, and rehearsal.

The IVE returned to Honolulu on July 3. Summing up the trip, baritone Kevin Patoc said: “It was a fun and amazing learning experience!”


Spring concert helped fund choir’s travel

by Marquise Brack, Arts & Entertainment editor

On April 30, HPU’s International Chorale and Vocal Ensemble performed their fourth annual spring concert “A Dance of Spring,” at the First Methodist Church of Honolulu.

The groups performed 17 songs. Pianist So Jin Kimura, an adjunct faculty member at HPU, accompanied the choir.

Kala‘i Stern, the interim conductor, chose the themes for the concert and selected the pieces of world music. The concert title, “A Dance of Spring,” was chosen to remind the performers and audience members of their favorite spring pastimes.

“ Silence is the canvas on which we paint,” said Stern, and during their final performance of the semester, the HPU group did just that.

The choirs performed “Nani Ko‘olau,” in Hawaiian; “Ave Maria” in Latin; and “Zigeunerleben,” in German.

To thank audience members for their support in coming to the event, and in celebration of Lei Day, May 1, each vocalist gave a floral lei to guests.

The choir played two songs that were featured in their Austrian repertoire this summer when they flew to Europe to perform in celebration of Mozart’s 250th birthday.

The event was free, but donations were encouraged and accepted to help the fund the trip for the members of the Vocal Ensemble.

HPU’s International Chorale is composed of 30-60 vocalists, both undergraduate and graduate HPU students, faculty and staff, as well as singers from the community.

The International Vocal Ensemble is composed of an elite group of 20-25 undergraduate and graduate HPU students.

Courtesy of HPU Choir

While touring the Mirabel Palace and Gradens in Salzburg, Austria, members of HPU’s International Vocal Ensemble came across an old stage that was used by musicians and thespians alike centuries ago. Inspired by past glories, the group sang a few Hawaiian tunes, attracting a crowd of listeners.

Ensemble members (l. to r., back) Davinia Yalimaiwai and Abe Gruber, and (front) Jon Felarca and Rachel Clough, tour a Salzburg garden.

Janos Czifra, director of music for the Salzburg Dome and co-conductor of the festival choir, leads the 400 member choir in a rehearsal of Mozart’s Coronation Mass.

Ensemble tenors (back row l. to r.: Jacob Schoofs, J.J. Pangilinan; front row: Joe Kostas, Raine Weiterman, Saulo Jube, Jon Felarca) pose near a famous fountain in an Austrian garden.

Members of the ensemble crowd a stairway at one of the most famous attractions in Salzburg: the Mozarthaus, Mozart’s birthplace.


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