Thirty-six members of the Wittenberg choir took their voices on the road this spring break, visiting four churches in four states.
The tour, which is a time-honored Wittenberg choir tradition that dates back to 1932, began on Friday, Mar. 4, and lasted until Tuesday, Mar. 8. Choir members sang their first song of spring break in Pittsburgh, and crossed through Charlotte, NC and Fairfield Glade, TN before completing the trip in Worthington, OH.
According to choir director Erik Zinter, the trip was a great opportunity for choir members to learn about service through music, and to mature as individuals.
“Without a doubt, the most valuable experience for the choir is service,” Zinter said. “As we sing for audiences around the country, the students are humbled by the reception from audiences and understand that their voices are gifts to be shared. Each night, they feel a responsibility to perform at their best and connect with total strangers through music.”
The singers were of service to the churches they visited, but those churches were of service to them as well. Throughout the week, the four host churches provided dinner, and members of the congregation opened their homes to choir members.
“Not only did the choir become close with each other, we were also given the opportunity to become close to members of each congregation we visited,” Laura Bucher, freshman choir member said.
“Most nights, we stayed with members of the congregation at their houses and were able to talk with the families and get to know what their town and congregation values were all about.”
The choir was able to perform every day of the trip, and with these performances came growth in their abilities and awareness, according to Zinter.
“[The singers] grow immeasurably in confidence, musicianship and ensemble awareness,” Zinter said. “We work hard all year to come together as a team, but it is not usually until tour that it happens – when the students surrender to the music and work in consort to express beautiful song.”
In addition to providing an opportunity for growth, the tour allowed current choir members to connect with alumni of the program. According to Zinter, the choir sang for packed audiences every day, some of which were alumni and prospective students. Two of the four hosting churches are led by Wittenberg alumni serving as head pastors.
Zinter believes that the tour was a great way to represent Wittenberg, stating that many who heard left with a more favorable opinion of the school. According to him, the tour was a chance for choir members to live out Wittenberg’s motto of “passing our light.”