Wilmington Children's Chorus in Final Preparations for Cultural Exchange Program

Posted on  07/26/2013 3:15 pm

Wilmington Children's Chorus and City of Fulda, Germany

Excitement is building among the 160 youth from the Wilmington Children’s Chorus (WCC) and Youth Chamber Orchestra of Fulda, as they get ready for the week of a lifetime. Preparations are in full swing on both sides of the Atlantic for a cultural exchange program and music festival beginning July 28 in Wilmington and culminating with a joint public concert on August 3 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Helena’s Catholic Church, 602 Philadelphia Pike in Bellefonte, Delaware.

The evening’s performance will feature Schubert’s Mass in G and other works for chorus, orchestra and soloists by Mendelssohn, Brahms and Bernstein. The concert is free and open to the public. A free will offering will be taken to help underwrite the costs of the concert. A $10 minimum donation is suggested. In addition, members of both ensembles will perform at public and private events during the cultural exchange week, including the July 29 Wilmington Blue Rocks game at Frawley Stadium on Wilmington's Riverfront and a gala reception for community leaders at the Delaware Arts Museum.

WCC’s Artistic Director Kimberly Doucette says the choristers, ranging in age from eight to 18, plus returning alumni singers from WCC, have willingly set aside weekend and summer activities to practice and prepare for this event. While for many choristers this will be their first experience meeting and working with individuals from outside the United States, for others this event will reciprocate the hospitality they received from orchestra members and host families during a 2011 summer tour, which included time in Wilmington’s Sister Cities of Fulda, Germany and Nemours, France.

“The 2011 visit was life-changing for our choristers and their families,” Doucette recalled. “They experienced the pride of representing the City of Wilmington as cultural ambassadors abroad. Our choristers became global citizens and formed lifelong friendships with both the musicians and their host families in Fulda. We cannot wait to welcome the orchestra and their chaperones to Wilmington.”

The week includes three to six hours of daily rehearsal time for choristers and orchestra members, but Doucette noted the event encompasses much more than hard work and preparation. The WCC has promised its German counterparts a truly American cultural experience that will feature a series of fun and educational activities outside the rehearsal space, both in the City of Wilmington and the region.

  • The orchestra and their chaperones will enjoy a pool party and barbecue with WCC at St. Anthony’s in the Hills.
  • On July 29, WCC’s German guests will experience minor league baseball as the Wilmington Blue Rocks face the Carolina Mudcats at Frawley Stadium. WCC’s Young Men’s Ensemble will sing The National Anthem prior to the first pitch.
  • Members of both groups will entertain at an invitation-only Sister Cities Welcome Reception for the orchestra at the Delaware Art Museum.
  • WCC choristers and orchestra members will travel to Cape Henlopen for an all-American beach day, complete with summer sun and an evening clambake. Chaperones will receive a special tour of Delaware’s own Dogfish Head brewery in Milton.
  • The German-American community in the First State will welcome the Fulda orchestra and their chaperones at the Delaware Saengerbund in Newark.
  • The Birthplace of Liberty – Philadelphia – will be a stop for the WCC and the orchestra. They’ll visit The Constitution Center, Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, followed by lunch at The Reading Terminal Market.
  • August 3 is concert day, filled with rehearsal and final preparations for the 7:30 p.m. performance at St. Helena’s Church in Bellefonte.
  • The orchestra will depart on Sunday, August 4 after a morning brunch and musical showcase at the Christina Cultural Arts Center.

“In hosting our German friends, we’re building on the success of a wonderful cultural exchange born in 2011,” Doucette concluded, “and we’re showing children who might never travel overseas the immense value of not just sharing music, but sharing all Wilmington has to offer – here at home and abroad.”

Both the WCC and The Fulda Youth Orchestra are widely recognized regionally for their commitment to artistic excellence and music education. In Delaware, the WCC enjoys a strong reputation for creating opportunity for local and regional youth. WCC has performed with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, OperaDelaware, First State Ballet Theatre, the Philadelphia Arab Music Ensemble, and American composer Robert Powell.

The Festival is sponsored in part by Sister Cities International of Wilmington, Wawa, The Delaware Division of the Arts, the Christina Cultural Arts Center, the Kenny Family Foundation of ShopRite Supermarkets, and Papa’s Pastry in Wilmington. St. Helena’s Parish as well as First and Central Presbyterian Church and The Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew also are generously supporting this project by providing rehearsal and performance space. The Delaware Saengerbund has provided cultural and language support to the WCC as it prepares for the exchange.

The Wilmington Children’s Chorus is a multi-cultural children’s choir sponsored by the City of Wilmington, Dennis P. Williams, Mayor, as a project of Cityfest, Inc. Any qualified child can participate for free, regardless of financial or social background. Sister Cities of Wilmington has partnered with the WCC to develop this international exchange opportunity. This program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information about the upcoming visit of the Fulda Youth Orchestra and the concert, or to learn how to audition for the Wilmington Children's Chorus, please visit www.wilmingtonchildrenschorus.org or call Philip Doucette at (302) 438-8152.