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Westmont Choir Plans European Tour

College orchestra about to be heard around the world

The Westmont College Orchestra departs soon after the college’s commencement for a musical tour of Hungary and Austria. From May 12-25, the 52 student musicians will perform five concerts in the regions around Budapest and Vienna, while also taking time to stay with host families, visit local churches and attend an opera.

Joining the students are conductor Michael Shasberger, Adams professor of music and worship, administrative assistant Helen Park and professor of violin, Philip Ficsor.

The orchestra tours each summer, but this will be its first international excursion. Shasberger hopes to develop a rotation with an international tour every third year. The Westmont College Choir also tours, and last summer performed in Guatemala and Costa Rica. The orchestra has been saving and fundraising for this trip throughout the school year; the tour is funded in part by donations to the Orchestra Patron program.

“I consider this experience to be a great exemplar of Westmont’s global imperative,” Shasberger said. “It serves to both build and serve our community even as we help to build and serve the communities that we were privileged to visit.” Opportunites to perform and cross-cultural interactions are two aspects of a Westmont education.

Students will stay with host families in Kiskunhalas, near Budapest in Hungary, and perform concerts there with the Lorantffy Zsuzsanna Choir and the Bela Bartok Female Choir.

After attending a Baptist church in Kiskunhalas, the orchestra will transfer to Vienna and perform in the nearby town of Matzen. Returning to Budapest, members will give concerts at the prestigious Italian Institute with the Hungarian Central Baptist Choir and at the Magyar Szentek Temploma (Church of Hungarian Saints).

Students and faculty will also lead master classes at the Hans Richter Conservatory of Music in Gyor, Hungary.

— Sarah Squire is Westmont College’s arts coordinator.

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