Spring 2024 Newsletter

 ESME Singers and Rheinland-Pfalz International Choir Perform Together Again

By Emily Burnell Petrou

In what we hope will become an annual event, the ESME Singers and the Rheinland-Pfalz International Choir performed together in their second joint concert on Saturday, May 11, 2024 in the light-filled Lutherkirche in Kaiserslautern. Last April, the RPIC came to Munich, and this year we returned the favor; our entire choir was not able to participate, but 22 of us managed to make it up north for the adventure. The RPIC is led by ESME’s former longtime choir conductor, Eric Weddle, and he, along with their highly efficient choral manager and soprano Gosia Schulze, and ESME’s own organizer extraordinaire and alto Annie Janssen, have worked hard to make these concerts happen. Thank you, Eric, Gosia and Annie!

The concert opened at 18:30 on the dot with both choirs enthusiastically taking on Rossini’s popular opera chorus, “Il Carnevale di Venezia”, setting the mood for a cheerful evening of choral entertainment. The audience was delighted and ready for more!

Then it was time for ESME to take the stage on their own, led by our multi-tasking pianist Léa Vernisse taking on the conducting role (as well as accompaniment on several concert pieces). Our set featured three a cappella selections recently performed in our Spring Showcase: Monteverdi’s crisp “Cantate Domino”, Billy Joel’s soulful “And So It Goes”, and a rousing traditional spiritual, “I Can Tell the World.” This was then followed by the Rheinland-Pfalz International Choir presenting the lilting and precise “Se Ben Vedi O Vita Mia” by Giovanni Gastoldi, another lovely “Cantate Domino” (this time by Karl Jenkins), Frank Ticheli’s ethereal “Earth Song”, a talented ensemble (including Eric Weddle) performing an Eagles song, “Seven Bridges Road”, and finally, perfect for the gorgeous spring weather outside, the whole RPIC choir was back to thrill us with Beatles classic “Here Comes the Sun”.

Another ensemble of two trios then formed a sextet of “wise women”; one from ESME (who also performed this in our recent Spring Showcase) and the other from RPIC, bewitching the audience with the mysterious tale of “The Magpie”. Following that, the two choirs gathered together once again for more joint pieces under Eric Weddle’s steady hand: the rollicking sea shanty “What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor”, the well known spiritual “Elijah Rock”, and finally, the grand finale: a stirring version of the beloved Simon and Garfunkel hit, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. An encore capped off the evening with a personal favorite of both choirs, the lively South African “second national anthem”, “Tshotsholoza”, always a crowd pleaser (and mighty fun to sing as well!). 

The two choirs then happily headed out to dinner to celebrate another successful concert, mixing and mingling at the tables, making new friends, and – of course – serenading the restaurant with a spirited reprise of “Tshotsholoza” (a long-standing after-party tradition).

Plans are already underway for a joint weekend away next Spring in our usual venue at the Humboldt-Institut in Bad Schüssenried. This will give us all a chance to have more rehearsal time with both conductors together, something we have yet to experience with our joint concerts, as Eric was unable to attend last year’s, and the same went for ESME’s conductor Linda Oppermann this time around. Watch this space for more information on our two choirs collaborating together to make a joyful noise!