Augustana Choir Set to Tour Italy and Germany

The 2016-17 Augustana Choir with director Dr. Paul Nesheim

The 2016-17 Augustana Choir with director Dr. Paul Nesheim

As J-term begins, The Augustana Choir and director Dr. Paul Nesheim will travel to Italy and Germany for a two-week tour departing on Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Stops on the tour include the German cities of Berlin, Genthin, Potsdam (the sister city of Sioux Falls), Weimar, Erfurt, Eisenach, Leipzig and Wittenberg, along with Rome, Italy and Vatican City.

Highlighted performances during the trip include singing at Nikolaikirche, the oldest surviving church in Leipzig, at Schlosskirche (Castle Church) in Wittenberg where Luther’s tomb is located, and during an evening mass in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

As a tour veteran, tour manager and coordinator of Augustana's arts marketing and development Brad Heegel '76 says, although this trip isn't "new" to him, it's different every time.

"It's always a joy to travel with Augustana students," Heegel said. "While I've been in the cities to which we are traveling on several occasions, it's always a joy to see these places unfold through the eyes of our students. I learn something new each time we visit and have ever-changing impressions just because of them."

In addition to their performances, choir members will take a course titled "Living Reformation," led by Heegel, campus pastor Rev. Dr. Paul Rohde, organist Marilyn Schempp, and Nesheim.

The majority of the course was developed by Rohde.

"I believe walking the turf of the course will help students more fully integrate the world changing impact of Luther, Bonhoeffer, Bach and Francis," Rohde said. "This will deepen our sense of both the cataclysm of change and the profound gift of transformation."

For senior Alex Guggenberger '17 (Minnetonka, Minnesota), Augustana Choir president, this experience means an opportunity to bring the Choir's message to a new place and to create memories with his fellow choir members.

"It is always exciting to perform to people you have never seen before, especially when they speak a different language," Guggenberger said.

"Music is an amazing gift that is able to bring people of different backgrounds together and I am looking forward to spreading our message of peace, joy, and love. Choir this year has been surreal. I have been blessed to be in The Augustana Choir for all my years here and have created some amazing memories. The bond you build with people while singing is like no other. Although it is my last year, I am trying to savor the moments I know I will miss — from my last Vespers performance, to something as quirky as Dr. Nesheim doing his Jim Carrey impression."

The following month, The Augustana Choir will perform their home concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 12, at Our Savior's Lutheran Church.