EMU Chamber Singers embark on 2023 European Tour


Repertoire includes song composed by ’12 alum

originally published by Eastern Mennonite University

The EMU Chamber Singers, from left to right: (back) Thaddeus Jackson, Jacob Nissley, Andrew Zook, Afton Rhodes-Lehman, Joshua Stucky, (middle) Aaron Moyer, Hannah Landes Beck, Maggie Garber, Sophia Sherrill, Iris Anderson, Philip Krabill, (front) Hollyn Miller, Savannah Smith, Brynn Yoder, Naomi Kratzer, and professor Benjamin Bergey.

The Eastern Mennonite University Chamber Singers will share their voices with 11 church congregations in Germany, The Netherlands, and the Alsacian portion of France during their 2023 European Tour May 9-21, 2023. The group will perform its spring break tour program “Local and Global: songs of peace and justice,” featuring composers and styles from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and around the world.

Among the highlights of the trip include singing in—and visiting—two historic cathedrals in Germany: the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, where J.S. Bach worked for many years, and the Frauenkirche in Munich. Students will also have the opportunity to “receive European Mennonite hospitality,” as many of the churches will host them for a night.

“I am excited to share this experience with students in these incredible locations and to share our music with these various communities,” said Professor Benjamin Bergey, director of the Chamber Singers.

The program includes songs such as “Shenandoah,” a classic song about the Shenandoah Valley; “Sing Each Other Home,” a piece the Chamber Singers and EMU’s music and peacebuilding program commissioned the Harrisonburg-based Walking Roots Band to write; and “Could It Be That God Is Singing,” a hymn in the Southern Harmony tradition by Mennonite poet Becca J R Lachman.

Other songs include “A New Leaf” by Bradley Lehman, a local composer and father of choir member Afton Rhodes-Lehman; “Eagles’ Wings” by EMU alumnus Sam Kauffman ‘12; and “Wake Up, My Spirit” by Virginia-based contemporary African American composer Adolphus Hailstork.

Performances are free of charge, and a live offering will be taken to support the choir’s travel expenses.

The EMU Chamber Singers is an auditioned touring chamber choir now in its 44th year. The mixed-voice choir is made up of more than 15 EMU students of different ages and majors. The ensemble tours in the U.S. each spring break and will tour abroad every other May starting with this international tour, which is the first of any EMU ensemble since music professor Ken J. Nafziger led the Chamber Singers to Cuba in 2003.


May 9, 7:30 p.m. 
Doopsgezinde Kerk (Singelkerk) – Amsterdam, Netherlands 

May 10, 7:30 p.m. 
Doopsgezinde Kerk – Utrecht, Netherlands 

May 11, 8 p.m.
Doopsgezinde Kerk – Witmarsum, Netherlands 

May 13, 5 p.m. 
Thomaskirche – Leipzig, Germany 

May 14, 10 a.m. 
Evangelische-Mennonitische Freikirche – Dresden, Germany 

May 16, 7:30 p.m. 
Mennonitengemeinde – Ingolstadt, Germany 

May 17, noon 
Frauenkirche – Munich, Germany 

May 18, 7:30 p.m. 
Mennonitengemeinde – Owingen, Germany 

May 19, 8:15 p.m. 
Eglise Evangelique Mennonite – Ingersheim, France 

May 20, 7 p.m. 
Mennonitengemeinde – Weierhof, Germany 

May 21, 10 a.m. 
Mennonitengemeinde – Enkenbach, Germany


The choir includes:

Iris Anderson, Corvallis, Oregon

Reah Clymer, Meridian, Mississippi

Maggie Garber, Broadway, Virginia

Thaddeus Jackson, Harrisonburg, Virginia

Philip Krabill, Elkhart, Indiana

Naomi Kratzer, Goshen, Indiana

Hannah Landes Beck, Linville, Virginia

Hollyn Miller, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Aaron Moyer, Broadway, Virginia

Jacob Nissley, Canton, Ohio

Canyon Penner, Goshen, Indiana

Afton Rhodes-Lehman, Dayton, Virginia

Sophia Sherrill, Goshen, Indiana; Higashikurume, Tokyo, Japan

Savannah Smith, Key West, Florida

Joshua Stucky, Princeton, New Jersey

Brynn Yoder, Harrisonburg, Virginia

Andrew Zook, Canton, Ohio

Find the EMU Chamber Singers on Instagram and Spotify.

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