German vocal group stops at Ladue on international tour
Sayli Sant, A&E/Features Writer
April 23, 2012
Filed under A&E
“End of the Road,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Superfreak.” These are just a few of the songs performed by Young Voices Brandenburg before an excited audience of Ladue students, parents and teachers.
The group traveled from Germany to perform at Ladue on March 26 as part of a two week tour in the United States. Young Voices Brandenburg is a selective vocal music grogram which takes skilled young singers aged 15 to 25 and allows them to come together to create their own jazz choir program over the course of two years. This year’s theme was Motown, so the group not only sang German jazz songs, but also a variety of American songs.
“I loved seeing people from a different culture singing songs from a culture that isn’t their own,” senior David Pruchno said.
Most of the students in the group that travelled to Saint Louis were college students aged 20 or older. This tour marked the end of their time in the program.
“The Goethe Institut contacted me last fall to see if we could accommodate the tour schedule of Young Voices Brandenburg. I explained that… if they wanted to come, we would love to host them,” German teacher Deborah Lund said. “The Goethe Institut and Marc Secara, the director of the choir, provided me with information and photos to help with promoting the concert.”
Organizing the show required a lot of collaboration between members of the Ladue faculty. The concert was set up in the Ladue performing arts center.
“The first thing I did was to check the calendar with Mrs. Burmeister and Mr. Waechter and to talk to Mr. Lowery. They are the ones with the expertise to know if we could meet the technical requirements of the group,” Lund said. “They were very enthusiastic and supported the event from the very beginning. It wouldn’t have happened without them.”
The concert proved to be an exciting event for both Ladue students as well as for the performers. The experience was especially unique for Ladue students who hosted members of the choir in their own homes.
“[The home-stays were] an opportunity for real cultural exchange, for them to see what Americans are like on a normal day-to-day basis,” Lund said. “It is also very practical, sparing the budget. Such a tour is extremely costly and since it is part of a project funded by the German taxpayer, being frugal is important.”
The home-stays provided the singers with a break after spending over a week sleeping in various hotels. For host families, the stays were rewarding as well.
“It’s kind of cool to have someone in your house who’s never seen America before… to hear about a different culture and see how they interact with other people,” freshman Jenna Fee said. “They are so friendly.”
Not only did Ladue students get a taste of German culture from their guests, but the German students also got to explore American culture from a student’s perspective. The singers sat in on Ladue’s more advanced German classes, and had fun, new experiences with their host families.
“We went to Froyo and they really liked that, because they’d never seen it before,” Fee said.
The day after the concert, the German students also attended and sang alongside the Ladue choir.
“It was such a privilege to see how different, yet how similar we are as students and as choral groups,” Pruchno said. #