Tour 2011: Thanks!

Thanks to everyone who supported us on this tour. As I’ve said many times, it’s hard to express just how much we’ve grown during our 10 days abroad. In all areas – culturally, socially, musically – I’ve seen our students evolve into thoughtful, intelligent, and mature people. This trip has broadened our minds to the possibilities out there in the world, and allowed us to find new ways of expressing ourselves as musicians. We’ve also grown quite close as a group, which is a wonderful thing.

The administration and student government contributed a significant amount of money to help lower the cost of the trip for our students. We are grateful for that support. We couldn’t have done it without them. Specifically, we’d like to thank Dr. Michael Wittgraf and the UND Music Department, Dr. Kathy Tiemann and the College of Arts and Sciences, the UND Student Senate, the UND Alumni Association, Peter Johnson and his staff in University Relations, Dr. Paul LeBel and Dr. Robert Kelley for their support of this tour.

I’d also like to thanks all the parents of the students. Your support is the single most important factor for making the trip possible.

Before I go, I’d like to say a few more things:

First, if you have been following this blog and like what you see and hear, I like to encourage you to give to the UND Concert Choir. This trip has completely exhausted our funds, and we would like to be able to provide enriching opportunities for the students in the future. We cannot do that without your support. Every little bit helps, so please consider giving. You can send a check to:

University of North Dakota Dept of Music
3350 Campus Road, Stop 7125
HFAC, Room 110
Grand Forks, ND 58202


Make your checks out to UND and put “Concert Choir” in the memo portion of the check. You can also go to and contribute via credit card. Please be sure to mark “Other” in the “Designation” pull down menu, and then indicate Concert Choir in the field below it.

Second, I’d like to share a portion of an email I just received from one of the music teachers at the AMIS Festival in the Hague. His response to our performance is glowing, but in this excerpt he makes an important note about the notion of excellence in schools in the US…basically, we showed those students that it does not take an Ivy-league school to be excellent. Here is his response:

Hi Joshua and Choir Tour members,

I just wanted to share my joy with you and your Choir regarding your stellar performance at The American School of the Hague in conjunction with the Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS) High School Honor Band and Mixed Choir Festival on Saturday, March 19.

The musicality of the choir certainly reflected careful preparation of a wide range of repertoire. I found all selections on the program, including the “throat-singing” selection, to be riveting.  The mature voices of the soloists too, were a delight.  Well done!

It was particularly wonderful that you could perform for this very select audience as these 224 choral and instrumental students represent the top music students in 43 major American curriculum schools abroad from Sao Paulo to Shanghai.  Our listening gear was full-on and what we heard brought smiles and sustained applause from both music teachers and student musicians.  Bravo!

As the Band Director at the Shanghai American School-Pudong Campus, I would like to share with you another aspect of your performance that may not have been recognized. Many of our students are focused on attending and do attend the “name-brand/Ivy League” schools in the U.S.  I visit with many juniors and seniors about college choices and what the UND Choir did for me was to strengthen my belief, that students should “…find a school that suits their interests, strengths and will deliver the skills needed that will help them fulfill their passion…and that school may not be one of the “name-brand/Ivy League” schools!”  The UND Choir performance was one of the finest examples I could imagine which supports my belief. The time, money and effort that went into this tour is of significant importance.  Thank you.

Best wishes,


John Leonard, Pudong HS Music

Such a wonderful letter. It goes to show that events like this benefit everyone. We consider ourselves very lucky to have all this support.

Once again, thank you to all for everything. I will try to continue updating this blog, so keep checking back. Our next performance is with the Grand Forks Master Chorale on April 29 at 8 pm in St. Michael’s Catholic Church. We will be performing the music of Concert Choir Alum Terry Schlenker. You can read about Terry and the concert we are planning here.


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