Biola Chorale uses Amazon to fundraise for spring tour
During spring break next semester, the Biola chorale will fly to Munich, Germany for a performance tour, aptly named “In J.S. Bach’s Footsteps.” The tour will take students to the cities of Bayreuth, Leipzig and Weimar, among others in Germany. The students are rehearsing three days per week to prepare for the tour.
Shawna Stewart, the director of chorale activities at Biola, is organizing and fundraising for the tour along with students.
“We see this as a tour that will teach us about music, history, God and each other,” Stewart said. “Not only will music history come alive for us but we will also see other historically important sites ranging from the Buchenwald concentration camp to Martin Luther's prison cell.”
The chorale tours internationally once every four years, Stewart explained. It is a major event in their academic calendar, as it affords students opportunities to sing in cathedrals and other venues, and to “share God's truth and beauty through music,” Stewart said. “You hear God's voice in the music in a new way when singing in those sacred spaces.”
Chorale uses music to glorify God
On their website, the Conservatory of Music describes the chorale as a group composed of 32 students who use the art of choral singing to glorify God in both traditional and contemporary pieces. On Nov. 19, the chorale sang with the women’s choir and the group Encore in a concert called Cathedral Voices held in the Crowell School of Music.
Chorale impacts the lives of the students involved, such as Brianna Beard, a junior transfer student studying at the sophomore level in Biola’s Conservatory of Music. Beard has sung in seven choirs, but has never had an experience as rewarding as singing in the Biola chorale.
“Everyone really understands what the music means,” Beard said. “This is so important because a large portion of all chorale music is sacred. There’s so much love not only for one another, but Christ as well.”
Beard feels a sense of community within the chorale and she loves that her friends in the chorale are becoming part of her family.
Students hope to minister while traveling
Having never traveled outside of the U.S., Beard anticipates the spring tour because it will give her an opportunity to see another country as well as minister to the people there.
“Each one of the places we travel to, we will be sharing our faith and love for God through our music,” Beard said.
Beard believes that the ability to sing in small churches and cathedrals is an excellent way for her to do God’s work during the tour. Most of the students in the chorale will be participating in the spring tour if funding is successful.
Shopping through Amazon helps raise funds for trip
To raise the necessary $20,000 for the tour, the chorale has provided a way for students and faculty to donate through online holiday shopping. Amazon automatically donates to the chorale’s tour fund for every purchase made via the link. It is usable into next semester, and although the chorale needs to raise funds by Feb. 1, they will be accepting donations through April.
Through the efforts of students and faculty, and with the generosity of the student body and surrounding community, the Biola Chorale will have an opportunity to minister for Christ in Germany’s musically rich cities.