Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wishing everyone a safe return home

The Fullerton College Concert Choir tour members have left Vienna, Austria and are returning with Air Berlin via Düsseldorf to LAX. We wish everyone a safe return home and thank the participants for the opportunity. More pictures and videos will be added to this blog over the next few weeks.

More impressions from the Fullerton College Choir Tour

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A look back: Fullerton College Choir wins second place at International Choral Competition in Austria

Choir gathering before final performance

Choir taking stage at

On the second day of the competition Fullerton College Concert Choir woke up exhilarated from their win from the night before. They quickly got ready to head to Staadsaal, Spittal's town hall, as they were scheduled to be the first group to perform the "required" pieces for the festival. Staadsaal was known to be a difficult venue since the acoustics were not as good; the small space, crowded room, and all the doors being closed "swallowed" all the sound. At 9am the choir took the stage to sing Mr. John Tebay's interpretation of the three pieces: "Exultate Deo", "Sera di Liguria", and "Ergebung".

Once again the choir gave an incredible performance, which was clearly appreciated by the crowd's lengthy applause. With all the drawbacks of the venue it did not hinder the students one bit. They were thrilled about how well they sang "Sera Di Liguria" since this piece was purposely written with many difficult traps for the musicians, such as odd rhythms, perfect unisons, and lack of conventional cords.

After performing, the choir stayed to observe the other groups' interpretations of the songs. When all the choirs were finished everyone dispersed for the afternoon. At this time the groups were able to practice and wrap-up any loose ends before performing their "choice" pieces later that evening.

At 7:30pm all the choirs came back to the castle to perform the third category of the festival, their choice songs. Fullerton College was assigned the 9th position that evening and was able to enjoy a few other choirs before performing themselves. The students thought many of the other groups had chosen some beautiful pieces and performed impressively. Once their time came up the choir gathered together to
head to the stage. The three "choice" pieces Fullerton College chose were: "Psalm 57", "O Magnum Mysterium", and "Gloria".

The choir had an excellent final performance! All three songs wowed the audience and the group received quite an intense appreciation of applause, whistles, and kind words from the audience and their competitors. After the 10th choir had performed the officials once again instructed everyone to return in approximately an hour as they discussed the performances. The second night placements were different than the first night, as the choirs were placed by their average scores from the "required" and "choice" pieces.

Around 11pm the judges were ready to announce the scores of each choir and a bit of commentary. In the same manner as the night before, the judges started by announcing the 10th place and offering commentary in German, then in English. They continued to announce 9th, 8th, 7th...and 4th place choirs. Then when the group was not announced as the 3rd place winners the suspension from the previous night returned. As the judges were about to announce the 2nd place winner the choir gathered together, all very anxious to hear whether they would make 2nd or 1st place. Fullerton College Concert Choir got 2nd place for their "required" and "choice" performances!

Fullerton College Concert Choir's average score from the two performances was 93 points! This was only two points less than the 1st place winners, the Czech Republic choir. This was quite an impressivefeat as it is typical for only the 1st place winner to score in the 90's.

Way to go Fullerton College Concert Choir!!!

Open-air singing party

Fullerton College Choir singers comment on the Spittal Competition and Incantato Performance Tour

The competition was absolutely wonderful, and I was very pleased to share our music not only to our new friends from around the world, but also to the audience in Spittal. Our hosts for this competition did a wonderful job in getting us organized for this competition, and I will miss them very much. What amazed me about this competition was the amazing performances from the choirs around the world, especially on Saturday night in which it was a tough competition. Everyone did such a great job. I was very thrilled that my choir was able put on a magnificent performance, and I couldn't be any happier to represent the USA with our incredible music. I would like to thank John Tebay, our wonderful director, for getting us prepared for this competition, and I couldn't have asked for a better director. I will enjoy the rest of this tour, but there is no doubt that the highlight of this tour will always be the competition in Spittal- Daniel Agee

So this trip was an experience of a lifetime from the sightseeing in Munich to singing in various venues as well as the competition in Spittal.  Overall this trip has been a highlight in my life so far and I hope I can be able to come back and visit. -Alexander Tupuola

Yay!!! This entire time, I have felt so blessed and lucky to be able to sing at all of these wonderful and beautiful places with such a talented group of people. Sometimes, when listening to recordings from the competition, I can't even believe that it's us singing. I am so proud of what we've been able to accomplish and thankful for what
we've been able to experience. I love the people, the music, and the beauty that surrounds us all the time! I could stay here forever, 
except that I miss my boyfriend and loved ones so much haha-Christine Li

This whole experience has been LIFE CHANGING!!! I can't even put the correct words together to express how happy this trip has made me. There are still four days left ahead for us and I'm expecting to have a wonderful time in Vienna! This wonderful experience has brought me closer to my friends and I'm so grateful to have made new connections while in Austria. I'll miss the support and enthusiasm of audiences when I return to California... I can't wait to return to Austria! I'll be leaving my heart behind so I'll need to come back soon for it! -Trinidad Cano

During the 2 days of the competition, I was able to meet people from several choirs; Germany, Indonesia, Latvia, but especially Slovenia! When I first introduced myself to the directress and choir, they thought I was being sarcastic because USA had placed 1st and Slovenia placed 7th, but I was truly thanking them for the wonderful music they shared. We quickly became the best of friends and I will deeply miss the Slovenian group :) I know I will definitely have a place to stay when I return to Europe. As for our choir, I thank you for the time we
shared,  the new friendships i've started and for the amazing Mr. Tebay. I love you all! 
-Andrew S. Medina

The past week has been the most inspiring experience of my life. Hearing so many different beautiful choirs performing pieces of their culture, as well as seeing sights that make you feel so small and ignorant as to the rest of the world outside of Fullerton has been a crazy experience that will never be forgotten. However, I truly believe that the most life changing experiences that took place this trip were the bonds that I formed with people in my own choir.  So many times we go through life trying to "stick to what we know", stripping ourselves of some of the best experiences and personalities we will ever encounter.  This past week has helped to mold bonds that I will have with people for many years to come, and memories that will inspire many bedtime stories to many future generations of Fullerton College singers-Gregory Fletcher

Waking up to a creation that I have only seen in pictures has been such a humbling and awakening experience for me. In the time that I have spent here I have discovered another extended layer of what is God's Will for my life, and the beauty that is His love in both Germany and Austria. Every church, stage, and street corner that we
have sung on has been a priceless gift that I would never give back. The relationships that have blossomed with people from around the world and within this very choir have been stories all their own, but 
those can be told another time-Maria Quintanilla

We came to Europe with the intention to change our audiences' lives; I surely didn't expect our performances and experiences to touch me so deeply... The power of music is truly incredible and overwhelming. -Josh Small

I feel so blessed and overwhelmed to have had the chance to experience the most amazing moments with my choir family! Our whole trip has been life changing and I will hold on to the time when we sang and touched
so many hearts! :) - Natalie Uranga

This trip has changed my life. I've made many new friends and grown closer to the friends I already had.
- Jeff Bley

It was such a wonderful experience to be able to share our music with so many different people from such a variety of of places. To know that we moved people and touched their lives tells me that we did exactly heat we came here to do. It has been such a great opportunity to meet and make friends with people from other countries, and become closer with my fellow fullerton college choir students. What an amazing, life changing moment that we have all gotten to share with one another. -Breanne Hansen

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Benefit concert of the Fullerton College Concert Choir to be held at parish church St..Ägid in Korneuburg, Austria on Tuesday, July 12 at 7.30pm

The Fullerton College Concert Choir will hold a benefit concert at the parish church St.Ägid in Korneuburg, Austria on Tuesday, July 12 at 7.30pm.The church of St. Aegidius, Korneuburg’s present parish church, was built between 1210 and 1212 and dedicated in 1214. The building was originally Romanesque in character with two towers but was severely damaged during the Swedish occupation of Korneuburg in 1646. As a result, a bell tower was added 1760, to be replaced during the renovation of 1902. Inside the church there is a number of interesting features and Gothic works of art as well as some ancient graves, particularly that of Ulrich and Elizabeth Pötl, parents of Simon Poetl, the richest man in Vienna.

Fullerton College Concert Choir benefit concert in Korneuburg

Incantato Impressions: Stephansdom, Vienna

Incantato Tours proudly presents the Fullerton College Concert Choir at Stephansdom, Vienna

Saint Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria, reigns as the mother church of the Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schoenberg. The cathedral’s present Romanesque and Gothic façade was commissioned by Rudolf IV and stands atop the ruins of two earlier churches. The church is located in the heart of Vienna within the Stephansplatz district. It is not only considered the most important religious structure in the capital city, but the cathedral’s multi-colored tile roofing also makes it the most recognizable. Saint Stephen’s Cathedral boasts a very important organ tradition. The sanctuary’s first organ was installed in 1334 but was unfortunately destroyed during a fire in 1945. Michael Kauffmann constructed a large electric organ in its place in 1960 which includes 125 voices, four manuals, and over 9,000 pipes, all financed by public donation. In 1991 the current choir organ was built by the Austrian firm Rieger. The new mechanical organ is comprised a more modest 56 voices and four manuals.A prominent Vienna landmark, Saint Stephen’s Cathedral is featured in many media productions including films, video games, and television shows. These include the 1949 Orson Welles film “The Third Man,” and the 2004 video game “Burnout 3.” An image of the cathedral is also depicted on the Austrian 10 cent Euro coin as well as the packaging of the popular Manner-Schnitten wafer treat. In 2008, Broadway star Sarah Brightman performed a promotional concert in Saint Stephen’s Cathedral which was recorded for television broadcast and released later in DVD form.
The Fullerton College Concert Choir will perform at this beautiful cathedral on Wednesday, July 13, at 12.45 pm.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lots to see and do for the Fullerton College Concert Choir as the group explores Vienna, Austria

Vienna is the capital of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.7 million (2.3 million within the metropolitan area, more than 25% of Austria's population), and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 10th largest city by population in the European Union. Vienna is host to many major international organizations such as the United Nations and OPEC. Vienna lies in the east of Austria and is close to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Founded around 500 BC, Vienna was originally a Celtic settlement. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in 2005 an Economist Intelligence Unit study of 127 world cities ranked it first equal with Vancouver for the quality of life. This assessment was mirrored by the Mercer Survey in 2009.
Art and culture have a long tradition in Vienna, including theater, opera, classical music and fine arts. The Burgtheater is considered one of the best theaters in the German-speaking world alongside its branch, the Akademietheater. The Volkstheater Wien and the Theater in der Josefstadt also enjoy good reputations. There is also a multitude of smaller theaters, in many cases devoted to less mainstream forms of performing arts, such as modern, experimental plays or cabaret.
Vienna is also home to a number of opera houses, including the Theater an der Wien, the Staatsoper and the Volksoper, the latter being devoted to the typical Viennese operetta. Classical concerts are performed at well known venues such as the Wiener Musikverein, home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Wiener Konzerthaus. Many concert venues offer concerts aimed at tourists, featuring popular highlights of Viennese music (particularly the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Strauss).
In recent years, the Theater an der Wien has become widely known for hosting premieres of musicals, although it has recently devoted itself to the opera again. The most successful musical by far was "Elisabeth", which was later translated into several other languages and performed all over the world. The Haus der Musik ("house of music") opened in 2000.

Next stop Vienna - here are some fun facts about Austria's capital city

  • Vienna is situated on the Danube River and is the largest city and the capital of Austria. Not only that, Vienna is also the Federal province of Austria.
  • It has the 3rd highest quality of living in European Union. People from Vienna are called Viennese.
  • The major religion of the people is Christianity. The major language spoken in Vienna is German. Surprisingly the voting age in Austria is only 16 years old.
  • Vienna is the only Austrian city-state in Austria, which is a federal republic.
  • Vienna is divided into 23 districts. The city center in Vienna is a World Heritage Site.
  • Vienna is known worldwide as the city of music and is home to great music hall with excellent acoustics.
  • Vienna is the last great capital of the Nineteenth Century Ball.
  • The Museumsquartier, which is one of the largest cultural complexes in the world, is present In Vienna.
  • World famous classical composers, including Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss, Schubert, and Brahms, have all lived and performed in Vienna.
  • Vienna is home to the setting of Graham Greene's novel ‘The Third Man’ that is an actual city casting melancholy and telling the story of the Cold War.
  • Vienna is considered as a city of cultural heritage. It has been home to various great artists Gustav Klimt, Sigmund Freud, Arthur Schnitzler
  • Tiergarten Schönbrunn, which is world’s oldest zoological garden,  was founded in 1752,
  • The largest emerald of the world, which is of a whopping 2860 caret, is displayed in the Imperial Treasury in Vienna.
  • The highest waterfall in Europe is in Kriml Falls, which is close by Vienna. The water falls 1,250 feet.
  • One of its only kind and one of the oldest Giant Wheel is there in Vienna, which is probably its one of the most familiar attractions. It is situated in a large wooded amusement park called as Prater. It has 15 Gondolas, which offers a scenic view of Vienna.
  • Europe’s second largest cemetery is situated in Vienna, which is called as Zentralfriedhof, it has a total size of 2.5 square kilometers/one square miles.
  • Zentralfriedhof also has over 2.5 million tombs, which is almost double than the city’s live population. It also has tombs of some of the most famous personalities of the world such as Beethoven, Brahms, Gluck, Schubert, Schoenberg, and Strauss.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Quick update from Austria: Fullerton College Choir places second in the Kunstlied Competition

Schloss Porcia is the venue for the festival
Breaking news from the 48. Internationalen Chorwettbewerbes auf Schloß Porcia also known as the International invitational Choir Competition of Palace Porcia, in Spittal Austria: Den Kustliedbewerb (Kat.A) entschied der Tschechische Chor "Coro piccolo" mit 95 Punkten vor dem Ensemble aus den USA (Fullerton College Choir) und dem Vertreter Deutschlands (Ars Antiqua aus Aschaffenburg) für sich.
And what does that mean? The singers from California, USA under the direction of John Tebay placed second after Coro Piccolo from Prague in the choral works competition and added another 900 Euros to their prize money - combined with first place in the folk song competition that the Fullerton College Concert Choir won, they are now bringing 1800 Euro home. Only two points separated the winners (95 for the Czech Republic, 92 for USA), while the difference to the competitor with the least  points awarded by the four jurors was 38 - 
Unisono from Vienna only reveiced a score of 56. 

And here are the official results from the website of the hosting Choir Singkreis Porcia:
Rang Pkt. Land Chorname
1 95,0 Tschechien Piccolo coro, Prag
2 93,0 USA Fullerton College Choir
3 88,5 Deutschland Ars Antiqua Aschaffenburg
4 81,5 Indonesien Brawijaya Univ. Student Choir, Malang
5 77,0 Litauen gem. Chor “Kamertonas”, Kaunas
6 74,0 Slowenien Akademski pevski zbor Maribor
7 72,0 Österreich ”die lautmaler” Kammerchor Perg
8 69,0 Lettland Chor “Daugava”, Daugavpils
9 67,5 Dänemark Sjølund Kammerkor
10 56,5 Österreich Unisono Chor Wien