German and American choirs share concert
NEW ULM – After an exhausting trip that included lost luggage, delayed, missed and cancelled flights, the German choir collegium iuvenum, consisting of 51 boys and men, arrived right on time for their performance at Christ the King Church in New Ulm on Thursday. They shared the concert with the 27 singers of the North Star Boys’ Choir, who had invited them after having been to Germany in 2011 and 2013.
“We’ve been through a lot to get here,” said the German choir manager Andreas Rosskopf.
On their flight from London to New York, all their luggage got lost. Consequently, they had to buy a whole new wardrobe for 55 people. A week later, their flight to Chicago was delayed due to the weather and so the boys missed their transfer flight to Minneapolis. Spending the night on cots at the Chicago airport, at 4:30 in the morning the police showed up, telling them they were not supposed to sleep there. Finally, Thursday at noon, they got on the plane to the Cities, arrived safely and came to New Ulm by bus.
“That certainly was a rough journey and an intense experience, but it was still fun,” said 17-year-old choir boy Simon Greif.
The collegium iuvenum is celebrating its 25th anniversary with an overseas tour instead of the usual European one. They came to know the North Star Boys’ Choir a few years ago due to their artistic director’s initiative. Francis Stockwell, a New Zealander by birth, has a long history of teaching choirs in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Each choir has scheduled a big tour every year and even though the traveling is a lot of fun for the boys, both the German choir master Michael ?ulo and his American counterpart Stockwell always insist on discipline.
“Francis is very strict. But that is a good thing. Even if we get homesick, we’re not allowed to use our cell phones or email. We write letters instead. He wants us to become more autonomous,” said 11-year-old North Star Aaron Mittelstadt.
The boys’ discipline and the effort they put into their singing by practicing twice a week were reflected in the concert. Beautiful voices filled the church with a variety of soothing sounds. German, Latin and English songs by Mozart, Mendelssohn, Beethoven and others, partly accompanied by Dr. Crystal Rossow on the piano and the organ, were presented.
“They love meeting other choir boys. And they all love music. It’s what connects them,” said Stockwell.
“It is a great experience from every point of view,” added Rosskopf.