Concert Choir Brings Joy to the World with this Holiday Concert (Watch it Here!)

Posted Dec 21, 2023

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This December, the Otterbein Concert Choir toured the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, performing at historic sites along the way. The tour represents 17 months of planning on the part of the choir, their director, Gayle Walker, and the Otterbein Department of Music. The Baltic countries are known for their love of choral music, as the region is home to large choral festivals and numerous world-renowned choral composers.

Having just returned home from the tour, Walker shared a brief recap along with their final performance:

“Everything exceeded my expectations, and I am so proud of our students. A number of students flew for the first time, and for the majority, this was their first time overseas.

“We visited Talin (Estonia), Riga (Latvia), and Vilnius (Lithuania). We saw and learned a great deal about Northern Europe in the Middle Ages, the Baroque, World War II, Soviet occupation, and the collapse of Soviet rule in 1991. We also learned much about the region’s evolving religious history. These countries have experienced many painful foreign government takeovers. Lithuanians lost 90-95% of their population during and after WW2 (Nazis, then Soviet Union). Before World War II there were 400,000 Jews thriving in Vilnius; today there are only 5,000. After World War II, 50,000 educated people against the Soviet takeover were sent to Siberia.

“The tour was instructive and sobering — but also very beautiful, with amazing architecture, Medieval streets, beautiful works of art, and wonderfully restored churches.”

Please enjoy this final performance of the Concert Choir’s tour, performed in Vilnius, Lithuania, for an audience of over 1000 in St. Casimir Church — where they received a standing ovation.

Concert Choir is the most select of Otterbein University’s five vocal ensembles. The choir tours overseas every four years; since 2000, the choir has toured Germany, Ireland, China, France, Switzerland, Austria, and the Czech Republic. In each overseas trip, the ensemble uses their music to build a bridge between people of very different cultures. Concert Choir’s tours have provided life-changing and mind-opening experiences for hundreds of singers who have performed with the choir.