This May, a group of Missouri Western students and faculty will be traveling to Austria and the Czech Republic to perform choir concerts.
The choir group, led by Director of Choral Activities and Vocal Music Education, Elise Hepworth, will perform four concerts for the local people of Austria and the Czech Republic between May 4 -12.
When deciding on where to go for their study abroad trip, Hepworth explained that the process involved consideration of both cost and what kind of experience they wanted.
“Italy is very expensive," Hepworth said. France is very expensive. Austria and the Czech Republic were a little bit better. Austria and the Czech Republic are two very old countries, and I felt like that would be a beautiful place for them to experience a lot of important Western European musical history.”
As for what made students want to go on this particular trip, junior Matthew Bobela knew he wanted to go on this trip since 2018.
“I remember Dr. Hepworth mentioning this trip in the fall and early spring of 2018," Bobela said. "I knew right then that I’m going on that trip. This is actually going to be my first time out of the country. I figured is there any better way to do it than Missouri Western? No there isn’t.”
Other than experience from performing their concerts, the choir group will also get to learn more about Austria and the Czech Republic and its rich history in music.
Sophomore Alexandrea Bryson is hoping to learn a lot about the history from being able to tour different destinations in the country.
“There’s so much music history over in Europe, and I think it’ll be really cool to see where a lot of that came from,” Bryson said. “We get to visit Mozart’s house that he lived in and a lot of the churches that original pieces were performed.”
Another exciting experience for the students involves touring where part of “The Sound of Music” was filmed, according to Hepworth.
“They’re going to take us to see where ‘The Sound of Music’ was filmed in Salzburg,” Hepworth said. “That’s one of the nice things about this type of trip is that you get the singing experience, but it’s not all work it’s going to be some play, too.”
With so many different activities planned, it is no surprise that both students and Hepworth are looking forward to the trip. Bryson is most looking forward to performing.
“I’m most looking forward to singing in a bunch of the cathedrals,” Bryson said. “The acoustics in those kinds of place and to think about all the people who sang there before you, it blows my mind.”
As for Hepworth, she is most looking forward to her students’ reactions.
“Just watching my students’ faces experience that for the first time, Hepworth said. "Some of them have never been on a plane. Some of them have never been out of the state. I can’t wait to see what their faces are going to be like and see how this changes their lives.”