The call went out two years ago. The Moravian Music Foundation (MMF) was planning a choir tour to
Prague, Herrnhut, and other Moravian locations in central Europe, and singers were wanted. My decision to register for the tour was, as the youth term it, a “no-brainer.” The opportunity to sing in historic churches in locations central to our Moravian heritage was not to be missed.
Gradually the planned tour took shape and substance. The dates were set for July 9 through July 19, 2010. Dr. John Sinclair, the immensely talented conductor of our Moravian Music Festivals, had agreed to direct the tour choir. There would be places for up to sixty singers, and an instrumental ensemble would travel with us to provide accompaniment. Singers who had already made the commitment to participate were encouraged to attend the 2009 Moravian Music Festival in
, in order to learn some of the anthems to be included in the tour repertoire. The Festival also proved to be a good recruitment tool for additional participants. Charlotte, North Carolina
As details were confirmed and communicated, excitement grew. Emails flew back and forth, announcing the final decision on repertoire, sharing packing tips, setting regional rehearsal dates, reminding us of the myriad details we needed to keep in mind in order to make it a successful tour. At last we gathered from across the
U.S. and Canada, descending on Bethlehem, PA, for two days of intense rehearsal before departing for Europe. Our company included forty-five in the choir, ten instrumentalists, and an assortment of non-singing spouses providing invaluable support.
Saturday evening we presented our concert to a warmly receptive audience at
. The next morning we participated in the worship service at Central. The Rev. Dr. Nola Reed Knouse, director of the MMF, demonstrated her versatility by playing flute in the ensemble and preaching the sermon. Both her musical and her pastoral skills were a great inspiration to us throughout the time of the tour. Following lunch and a visit to the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem Central Moravian Church Bethlehem, we loaded onto buses for the drive to JFK Airport, where we boarded the plane for . It was the beginning of an amazing spiritual and musical adventure. Prague