Academies choir makes beautiful music in Austria

When you hear the name Mozart, you might associate it with words such as “child prodigy,” “classical music,” or “talented composer.”

But for 21 Culver Academies students, the name Mozart will yield the sights and sounds of Salzburg, Austria – home of the Mozart International Choral Festival. On June 28, the students and five adults departed the United States en route to Salzburg, Austria, where they were invited to sing in the second annual Mozart International Choral Festival.

The festival was held in the historic Salzburg Dom, a 17th century baroque cathedral. Culver’s choir there joined a combined chorus of select singers from every age group -- high school, college, and adult -- in the fourday event, which cul¬minated in a performance of Mozart’s Mass in C “Coronation,” K.317, and additional selections. Professor Janos Czifra, director of music at the Dom, (which is the the con¬cert, accompanied by a professional Austrian orchestra and European soloists. The choir sang in the very venue in which Mozart himself composed numerous works of sacred music for the city of Salzburg.

Of course, students and adults from Culver took in some of the beauties of Austria while there, including Hellbrunn Palace and trick fountains, Mirabell Palace and gardens, Mozart Hause, Mozart’s birthplace, Salzburg Square, and Fortress Hohensalzburg, to name but a few.

Some 700 people attended the Salzburg Dom concert which culminated the trip, according to Stacey, who noted other participants included Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus, Heart of the Valley Chamber Choir, Athens Choral Society, and Minnesota Valley Chorale, as well as the Austrian orchestra and professional soloists.

“We looked awesome in our formal concert attire,” Culver choir director Stacey Warren wrote on the choir’s online blog about the trip ( “‘Magnificent!’ ‘Powerful!’ ‘Moving!’ ‘Dynamic!’ ‘Breathtaking!’ and ‘Phenomenal!’ were words we used to describe the experience of singing in the Salzburg Dom.

“A few of our girls shed a few tears during the last piece,” she added, “which is the piece we sang at (Culver’s) Baccalaureate.”
This has been a banner year for the Academies’ choir. In March, the choir traveled to Fort Wayne, Ind., to sing for taping of a program which reached an international television audience as part of the series, “Worship for Shut-Ins.” The choir can also be heard in the Culver community September 3 as part of the “Gift of Warmth” Lake Maxinkuckee Film Festival in the park, October 2 at Academies worship services, and December 11 as part of the school’s annual Christmas Vespers program.

In expressing thanks to Culver administrators, Development, donors, and parents who helped make the trip possible, Warren said, “We made memories. We made history. We’ve eaten, slept, duct-taped, toured, cried, laughed, photographed, sung, shopped, dropped, and loved this experience.”

More can be read about the trip on the aforementioned blog, and videos may be viewed on YouTube.

Trent Miles, Culver Academies Communications, contributed to this article.