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International tours a highlight for Penn State choir members

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Concert Choir members sing around Bach's grave

Where were you during the Apollo moon landing 50 years ago? For 60 former Penn State choir members, the answer is easy — they were performing an open-air concert in the Stadium of Apollo in Delphi, Greece.

“When we left Athens the morning of July 20, we knew that, if all went well, the astronauts would land on the moon sometime that day. In 1969, there was no television or radio in remote Delphi, and only irregular newspaper delivery,” remembered choir member Carol Wood Stansfield, who earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Penn State. “Very few people in Delphi spoke English, and none of us spoke Greek. That evening we communicated through the universal language of song.”

After the concert, some members of the choir located a Volkswagen that was able to receive radio, and they learned that their concert coincided with the moon landing.

“That concert became the highlight of a remarkable six-week concert tour of England, Israel, Greece, Yugoslavia, Italy, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, under the direction of Professor Raymond Brown,” said Stansfield, who, with her husband, John Stansfield Jr., recently pledged an estate gift to benefit the Nina and Raymond Brown Music Scholarship in Voice.

For today’s Penn State musicians, international tours remain a highlight of their college experience. This summer, 32 members of the Concert Choir, along with School of Music faculty members Christopher Kiver, choir director, and Jennifer Trost, soloist, spent 10 days in Germany, performing music by composers associated with the towns they visited. Those towns included Gotha, Eisenach, Römhild, Görlitz, Bautzen, Berlin and Leipzig, where Johann Sebastian Bach lived and worked.

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