Lassen Sie Die Musik Beginnen! Sister Cities Wilmington & Wilmington Children’s Chorus Host Fulda Youth Orchestra
Contributed by Tonya R. Richardson of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, Wilmington, DE.
The Wilmington Children’s Chorus (WCC) said goodbye, again to good friends this summer after hosting Germany’s Kammerorchester der Jugend Fulda (Fulda Youth Orchestra) for a week of combined rehearsals, performances, friendship, and fun, which began on July 21. The collaboration concluded in a gala concert held on July 29.The project was sponsored in part by Sister Cities of Wilmington, Delaware and the City of Wilmington.
The 2017 collaboration between Fulda and Wilmington, who are sister cities, was the fourth time the ensembles have come together for an immersive cultural exchange project. The first exchange occurred in 2011 when 32 high school members of WCC and their chaperones traveled to Fulda and to Nemours, France, another of Wilmington’s Sister Cities. In 2013, Fulda Orchestra members came to Wilmington and wowed audiences in a standing-room-only concert at St. Helena’s. 2015 saw 47 WCC teens, plus chaperones, traveling to Fulda and throughout Germany and Eastern Europe for several performances.
“We were delighted that the youth orchestra returned to Wilmington, and our host families and choristers couldn’t wait to see our German friends,” said Kimberly Doucette, WCC’s artistic director. “For some choristers, this visit allowed them to renew ties formed years ago. For others, especially our younger choristers, the experience was brand new.”
Mayor Purzycki and other officals welcomed the orchestra members and chaperones at a reception at the Hagley Museum Soda House on July 24. During their visit, orchestra members, their chaperones, and host families had time to see the best of Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley. The ensembles explored the Wilmington Riverfront, Rockford Park, Hagley Museum, Cape Henlopen State Park, and other regional attractions. The ensembles also traveled to Washington, D.C. for a day of sightseeing. All orchestra members were hosted by Wilmington Children’s Chorus families in their homes.
And yes, there was plenty of time for rehearsals.
“An ambitious repertoire was planned well in advance,” Doucette said. “We featured feature works by Mendelssohn, Buxtehude, the American composer Rollo Dilworth, as well as selections from Carmen, Tales of Hoffman, Amistad, and the musical Carousel. Both ensembles rehearsed these pieces for many weeks prior to the exchange.”
The capstone concert included 100 singers — the largest number of participating WCC choristers in the history of the four collaborative projects. Members of WCC’s Youth Choir joined the ensemble, alongside their middle and high school counterparts in both the orchestra and the WCC choirs.
“The cultural exchange is a major project, and one we always anticipate with a lot of excitement,” Doucette said. “It’s so much more than a tour. We’re connecting with like-minded ensembles from Wilmington’s sister cities, sharing our homes, and making music together. We’re building lasting friendships and creating experiences that will make our choristers more confident in today’s world.”
The Wilmington Children’s Chorus is a multi-cultural children’s choir sponsored by the City of Wilmington, Michael Purzycki, Mayor, as a project of Cityfest, Inc. Any qualified child can participate for free, regardless of financial or social background. 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. To learn more about the WCC, the cultural exchange, or to stay up to date on the daily activities of the orchestra and WCC, please visit www.WilmingtonChildrensChorus.org.