Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

We rejoined our friend from Germany, Susan Sauter, to perform our Winter concert series. Below is the song that our Artistic Director, Stephen Galvan, arranged and dedicated to Susan. Please enjoy Susani e Tanti Anni Prima:

Susani e Tanti Anni Prima from Rebecca Ronshaugen on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Way-Finding

Why take the direct route when you can take a short-cut through the secret back door of the castle and through the woods at 10:30 pm, high above Salzburg? When our trusted leader (unnamed to protect the innocent) suggested a new path, we all agreed. We were brave without GPS or MapQuest. We found a single sign to Leopoldskrone, our hotel, then never saw another. With the luck of a stranger's directions we found an elevator to the city below. “We were lost, but then were found!” A grimm's fairy tale adventure to remember.

Submitted by Connie, Karen, Alan, Fran, Kassie, Mark, Nancy, Mollie

A Scream in the Dark


We were drifting in the dark, the entire group on a barge on a brine pond far under ground in the Bertesgarten salt mine. A shout, a scream! The lights go up to show our young tour guide calmly directing us to exit the barge. A quick reconnoitering reveals he had startled Camesha on his pass from the stern to the bow to prepare for debarking. Camesha revealed that she had earlier commented to him on his cute hat and cuter dimples, and so suspected payback. Getting off the barge, she punched him in the shoulder and gave him the 'stink eye'. He was taken aback (apparently having scared her at random), then realized the coincidence and laughed.

Making up at the end of the tour.

Salzburg

We left Munich this morning and drove to Salzburg, Austria. Arriving at noon, we walked to the Salzburg Dom and arranged ourselves for fifteen minutes of singing at 12:30. Laura points out that this was one of the more challenging places for us to sing – the incredible ornateness of the place made it difficult to remain focused on Steve's direction. The number of people listening likely exceeded any previous cathedral sing. It was gratifying to see so many stay through all of our pieces, even 'The Conversion of Saul'.

After the sing, we traveled to our lodgings: a villa on the grounds of Leopoldskron Palace, the von Trapp residence of 'Sound of Music' fame. We share the same view over the lake to the mountain peaks beyond. Tomorrow, we will breakfast in the palace. We dropped our bags in our rooms and returned to town for our longest unscheduled time of the trip, wandering the town at our own paces and whims, only slightly dampened by intermittent showers.

Munich

We arrived in Munich late Wednesday evening, checking into the Pallotti Haus Freising, where they had kept the kitchen staff late to feed us. The clouds that had been building all afternoon waited until everyone was in bed before letting loose a steady rain. It continued until mid-morning, letting up periodically as we toured the Nymphenburg Palace, wandering the extensive grounds or admiring the ornate carriages.

From the palace, we headed into Munich's old town and the Frauenkirche, the resurrected cathedral in the center of old town, where we performed several pieces. After, we had several hours to wander around the town and enjoy the crowds and sights.

We returned to the Pallotti Haus at exactly 6:00 pm, ducking into the church with the last of the parishioners arriving for evening mass. We showed our appreciation for the kindness of the previous evening by singing the prelude, offertory, and two closing pieces. We then retired to the gardens to for a wine reception hosted by Steve and Rebecca. Some who stayed late enough amused themselves by catching fireflies.

Last Full Day

The day started with a leisurely morning, the first of the trip, call time on the bus being 9:30 am. Better yet, breakfast was served in the ornate great hall of the Schloss Leopoldskrone. Best of all, for some, was that added to an extensive European breakfast spread were some familiar American items, like bacon and eggs (the schloss is now owned by an American enterprise).

First stop of the day was the salt mine of Berchesgarten. It was an entertaining experience, riding a trolley, floating on a barge, sliding down on slides, and riding up in a funicular, all underground. Displays along the way illustrated well the workings of the mine.

Next stop was Königsee. Last chance to spend some euros in the shops. Some walked or paddled far enough along the lake to see the cathedral at the other end, but most wandered around the little community of shops and eateries, looking up at the Eagle's Nest on a ridge high above or across at the Olympic luge training facility, or simply enjoying the beauty of the lake and mountains rising above it.

Returning to the bus, we learned there would be one more opportunity to spend some euros: we would make a stop at the oldest brewery of gentian schnapps. They provided an educational tour and samples of six varieties of schnapps. There were many nodding heads on the trip to Munich.

We arrived at our Munich hotel at 5:30 pm, dropped our bags and headed out again to our final German supper at Weihenstephan Abbey, the oldest operating brewery in the world.

Building Trust

The line to the women's restroom was long on a very quick stop in Asserburg.Steve Popkes emerged from the empty men's room and suggested Betsy Popkes and Karen could use it. He assured them he would wait outside. Karen went in. However, the easily distracted Popkes noticed a church nearby and went exploring.

Submitted by Steve Popkes.

When I stepped out of the men's room, my first thought was, “Where is everybody?” My second thought was more specific: “WHERE are STEVE and BETSY!!” All the colorful metaphors running through my head powered my walk back to the bus. Thus driven, I arrived in plenty for count-off.

Submitted by Karen.

After our evening concert in Trossingen, Fran was approached by one of our tour guides, Holga who exclaimed “Wunderbar!” and was delighted that she was able to make it. She was afraid that she would late, as she had a prior engagement earlier in the day. Holga mentioned that she used to sing with Liederkranz and that it was a joy to hear the two choirs combined. She has someone she has been meaning to visit in Seattle and now fully intends to add her sister city of Beaverton to her list of destinations.

We were getting situated at the front of the Frauenkirche Chapel amongst the pews where all of the visitors could see us when Steve decided to lift the kneeling platform in order to make room. When he did that, it made a loud BANG which reverberated throughout the entire place cutting though the reverent quiet. He had quite a look on his face. We were all just happy that it happened to him and not to us. Phew!



While out in the garden at the Pallotti House late at night, Jim caught a firefly in his hands and showed it to those around him. After the oohs and aahhs, he tried to shake the firefly off but it instead ended up on the tip of his finger. Nancy commented that it “looks just like ET”. The laughter that followed may have scared away the remaining fireflies.

To Deb From Rebecca...
Mission accomplished, umbrella in hand.
(Photo/proof to come)
An amazing sight; the water of Lake Constance as it borders Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Beautiful!
(Photo to come)
Our young tour guide at Neuschwanstein grew up across the lake and able to see the castle from his bedroom window. It was his dream to one day, lead tours through the castle and he has been doing just that for 7 weeks now.
Steve had asked by email and in person if we might sing in the Meister Singers Hall and was told no. Our brave Alicia asked our guide if we could sing one song at the end of the tour and he agreed. Steve chose Psalmo 150 and it was glorious in that space.
Ona’s favorite part of the tour so far has been our time in Trossingen. We were welcomed warmly at a local garden party where we drank beer and learned drinking songs from our new German friends. We saw many of them the following night at our combined concert and were greeted with hugs and kisses as if we had all been friends for many years instead of just a handful of hours.

In Rottweil, Jim found a weapons museum with a collection ranging from medieval to World War II. Although the museum was closed, through the windows he was able to see cannons, small arms, muskets and ammunition. It is a good thing it was closed, otherwise he might still be there.

Susan Sauter joined ISing today to show us the way to Rottweil. Steve and Rebecca had a lovely afternoon with her before our rehearsal for the evening concert with Liederkrang. After the rehearsal, Susan treated the choir to an amazing performance of classical harmonica. We can’t wait to see Susan again later in July when she stays with Steve and Rebecca in Beaverton for the International Sustainability Program.

During one of our walking tours, we found out Wendell’s fatal attraction is sweets. He had to stop at every candy and ice cream shop we walked by and marvel at the displays. The look on his face when he got the kettle corn and gelato was priceless. – Yvonne




We sat down to dinner and were delighted when Christian joined us. We had been trying in vain to make sense of the menu, even though it was in English there were puzzling items: mouth pockets? Stiff chicken? He told us that the menu translated in English had a few problems. It seemed the person doing the translations was using a phoenetic translation. He read the menu to us, amidst much laughter, reassuring us that mouth pockets were like ravioli, and really quite good.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Translation of the Article Regarding the Burgau Concert

Two Choirs, an Excited Audience

Von Gertrud Adlassnig

Translation by Maria Frick

Two Choir Leaders – Stephen Galvan and Herwig Nerdinger (at right), two choirs – Ising Community Choir and Kammerchor Burgau, an excited audience: The charitable concert for Kartei der Not in the Church in Burgau was a great success musically and financially.

Burgau. Thanks to the international relations of the Kammerchor Burgau, music lovers sometimes get the benefit of unusual concerts by foreign choirs. The concert performed by the ISing Community Choir from Beaverton, Oregon on Saturday night for the benefit of Kartei der Not is one such example of this exquisite tradition. The choir, which was only founded six years ago, attracts highly talented singers who masterfully perform challenging pieces under the direction of Stephen Galvan.

The Kammerchor set the tone for this sacral concert from the balcony. Wit Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Heinrich Kaminski the choir established a brilliant beginning for this musical evening. The American choir surprised the Burgau listeners with Salmo 150 from the aisles. The musical intonation of the psalm is amongst the most famous pieces of the contemporary Brazilian composer Ernani Aguiar. The temperament, the incredible speed of the singing, and the sensitive rhythm provided a first taste to a concert that was as unusual as it was exciting.

O Nata Lux by the American composer Morten Lauridsen whose roots are in Denmark forms part of his five-piece choir cycle Lux Aeterna. After the fiery Brazilian beginning the counterpoint influenced by European tradition: The piece that is close to the Requiem was interpreted by the choir in a quiet, solemn way, as providing hope and consolation. The whole breadth of the virtuosity of this very young choir was already reflected in these first two presentations. And the visitors continued to be fascinated by an unusual choral presentation.

The powerful piece The conversion of Saul by Z. Randall Stroope required everything from the singers. Counterpointed call and response, tumultuous, quick passages in sudden contrast to the most sensitive pianissimi which excited every choir lover with their subtleness and homogeneity. A brief organ interlude by Herwig Nerdinger, a choral piece by Bach, gave the audience a chance to catch their breath from so much unusal choral presentation.

This presentation continued with two pieces by the German composer Franz Biebl, a grandiose Ave Maria with separated choir and Deep River presented by the women. The next block of music was interpreted by the ISing Community Choir without a break as one piece, even though the 3 gospel pieces have been arranged by different musicians. The apparent folks songs from the American South turned into a highly artistic piece of art, which impressed as much with its soli as well as the percussion, with swinging passages and grandiose fortissimi.

The solemn conclusion of the concert was introduced by the ISing Community Choir after another organ piece presented by Herwig Nerdinger with another piece by Morten Lauridsen, Sure on this Shining Night. The Kammerchor Burgau left their spot on the balcony and moved solemnly through the nave singing Alta Trinita beata, an Italian piece of the 15th century. United in the choir with their colleagues from the US, the roughly 80 Singers together began Antonio Salazars O Sacrum Convivium.

An excited audience, long applause, and a joyful elevated mood provided the finale of this concert that was as unusual as it was wonderful. The charitable event yielded more than 1000 Euros for Kartei der Not, the beneficiary supported by this newspaper, including a donation of 300 Euros provided by the American choir which only collects donations for various beneficiaries during their concerts.

Salzburg

We left Munich this morning and drove to Salzburg, Austria. Arriving at noon, we walked to the Salzburger Dom and arranged ourselves for fifteen minutes of singing at 12:30. Laura points out that this was one of the more challenging places for us to sing – the incredible ornateness of the place made it difficult to remain focused on Steve's direction. The number of people listening likely exceeded any previous cathedral sing. It was gratifying to see so many stay through all of our pieces, even 'The Conversion of Saul'.


After the sing, we traveled to our lodgings: a villa on the grounds of Leopoldskron Palace, the von Trapp residence of 'Sound of Music' fame. We share the same view over the lake to the mountain peaks beyond. Tomorrow, we will breakfast in the palace. We dropped our bags in our rooms and returned to town for our longest unscheduled time of the trip, wandering the town at our own paces and whims, only slightly dampened by intermittent showers.

Building trust

The line to the women's restroom was long on a very quick stop in Asserburg. Steve Popkes emerged from the empty men's room and suggested Betsy Popkes and Karen could use it. He assured them he would wait outside. Karen went in. However, the easily distracted Popkes noticed a church nearby and went exploring. Karen was surprised when she emerged.

Submitted by Steve Popkes

Munich

We arrived in Munich late Wednesday evening, checking into the Pallotti Haus Freising, where they had kept the kitchen staff late to feed us. The clouds that had been building all afternoon waited until everyone was in bed before letting loose a steady rain. It continued until mid-morning, letting up periodically as we toured the Nymphenburg Palace, wandering the extensive grounds or admiring the ornate carriages.

From the palace, we headed into Munich's old town and the Frauenkirche, the resurrected cathedral in the center of old town, where we performed several pieces. After, we had several hours to wander around the town and enjoy the crowds and sights.

We returned to the Pallotti Haus at exactly 6:00 pm, ducking into the church with the last of the parishioners arriving for evening mass. We showed our appreciation for the kindness of the previous evening by singing the prelude, offertory, and two closing pieces. We then retired to the gardens to for a wine reception hosted by Steve and Rebecca. Some who stayed late enough amused themselves by catching fireflies.


Pushing buttons

After the castle tour, the choir gathered to wait for the shuttle down the hill to our bus. After we had waited in the heat for some time and knowing I was one of few who could read German, I asked whether anyone had pushed the button to call the shuttle. Rebecca's face on hearing of the button was priceless.

Submitted by Lauren Klimoff

Rough translation:
Shuttle bus bell
Please ring!
Last return trip 6:30 pm

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


It is in German but we have been told by our lovely singer/translator, Maria that the article says wonderful things about the concert in Gunzburg.

In memory of...




On our tour of Günzburg, we were introduced to an honorary citizen, Janus Korczak. A teacher and head of an orphanage in Warsaw, he chose to remain with his students until their deaths at Treblinka. In 1991, a play to commemorate Korczak was held in Ginsburg and his tie to the community has grown since, to the point of this statue being erected to honor him. Let us remember the past so as not to repeat it.

Submitted by Mark Campbell

Monday, June 27, 2011







The group took a walking tour through Nordlingen, a town built within a meteorite crater. We took the opportunity to sing while stopped in St. George's Church.
















We walked across the top of the wall that encircles Nordlingen. Since the town was built inside of a crater, it really was a circle.












The choir was honored to visit Maria's hometown of Unterschneidheim where we greeted by Maria's mother, sister, the town's former mayor and the director of the local choir.
















A brave few climbed the steeple of the Munster Cathedral. 768 steps to the top and everyone of us made it back down.















Our day ended at the Zunfthaus by the Danube River. A delectable ending to a wonderful day!



Medieval splendor

Our impromptu performance today took place in St. Michael's Chapel in Hollenzollern Castle. This was a great privilege as the area we were in is usually roped off. They also allowed pictures to be taken, normally 'verboten'. We did well enough to earn an encore request from the listening tourists.

Prior to this performance, we warmed up in the courtyard with 'Shenandoah'. After, a wave of applause flowed over us from the open windows of the main hall above where a tour group had stopped to listen.

PS - While this may be poor practice, text may be posted and photos added later. We are doing our best to synchronize all the parts, but it is a work in progress. For my part, I will add "+" to the title of a post that has had photos added. Thank you for your patience.

Sunday, June 26, 2011







The town of Gunzburg was preparing for the festival taking place later that evening. The locals were standing on tables and chairs to set up their tent. Ethan offered his height which required standing only on his own two feet.






The Kammerchor extended such hospitality by providing cakes and coffee. Delicious!











ISing choir member, Connie asked a member of the Kammerchor about the type of music they most often sing and found out that most of their music is serious. ISing performed a wide variety of music that evening. Connie also asked her if they ever use drums in the church, the Kammerchor member’s eyes got big and replied, “No, NEVER!”. A lot of accommodations were made for the first American choir to visit.


Cultural blend +



A special moment was watching the German choir process toward us at the concert in Burgau. The two cultures coming together through the beauty of music.

submitted by Mark Campbell

Choir Etiquette

During the concert in Burgau, a fly began flitting around my head. New to the choir, and knowing the discipline expected by the director, I kept my eyes on Steve. The fly demanded more attention, landing on my nose. I looked at the fly, my eyes crossed, and now there were two Steves conducting. I was unsure of fly protocol – to swat or not. Steve never covered this in his talks: was one required to sing with a fly on the nose? Might I inhale it when I breathe? I waved it away, four times, only to have it land on my music, creating new notes as it crawled around. Finally it left to bother other ISingers.

Saturday, June 25, 2011






To ensure that we haven’t left anyone behind, we count off and everyone has a number. We have now increased our number by one. Meet number 53, aka Herbert. Our bus driver was made an honorary choir member today when he was presented with an ISing polo and officially dubbed, number 53. Welcome Herbert!





This evening we had a wonderful opportunity to sing with the Kammerchor at the Stadtpfarrkirche Maria Himmelfahrt, a cathedral in Burgau. They welcomed us with a reception of cakes and pretzels. Delicious! We tried to not stuff ourselves before the concert.






After the performance, we had dinner with our host choir at the Gasthof. This time we made no such attempts to hold back on stuffing ourselves. The food was wonderful and the company, even better.








The invitation has been extended to Herwig Nerdinger and the Kammerchor to visit ISing in Oregon. This was done primarily through bribery. Steven Galvan brought Pinot Noir from the northwest to share with our hosts.

In Gunzburg, the choir was given a splendid walking tour by Christian, a teacher at the local school and member of the Kammerchor. He showed us the city center where the town was preparing for a festival. He also shared with us the history of the town including the artwork, cathedral, town gate and mix of old and new buildings.

We Sing +

Today we sang our first concert, but not before singing in two other venues. As Steven promised we would, we raised our voices in spaces visually and aurally stunning.




Rehearsal at Kloster Roggensburg




The first was the the church at Kloster Roggensburg. After an 8:30 am rehearsal, we stepped across to the church to experience our sound in a place with 'ring'. Lifting ones voice in such a glorious space was wondrous, as was listening to the reverberations at the end of 'Salmo 150'.



Church at Kloster Roggensburg

(with Sue Brock)







Lower voices belting out 'Ave Maria'




We rode the bus to Günzburg, where we were met by Christian, a member of the Kammerchor with whom we would sing this evening. Christian was our tour guide to the town's interesting sites. At the Frauenkirche, we again sampled the acoustics of this sacred space, to, we can only hope, the pleasure of the other tourists present.

After a quick trip back to our kloster to pick up our concert attire, we traveled to Burgau. We rehearsed in the Stadtpfarrkirche, both alone and with the Kammerchor, then adjourned for a brief social gathering. Here we fueled ourselves from an impressive spread of homemade Bavarian cakes and pastries.

Our evening started with Mass. We were invited to participate, singing for the intro and offering from the first balcony, the Kammerchor providing a piece from the second balcony. After Mass, the audience changed a little, some parishioners leaving and the public arriving. We created a wonderful noise (Steven detected a gasp from the audience when David launched into his drum solo), closing with the two choirs together singing 'O Sacrum Convivium'. We received a standing ovation.






Performance at Burgau





We closed our day with a rousing dinner, accompanied by many members of the Kammerchor. Back to our rooms for well deserved rest by midnight.

Friday, June 24, 2011

What we have learned so far:







Beginning Thursday, we have learned how to travel together. No bags or people left behind so far!









How to eat together. Which often involves find one of the people in the group who speaks enough German to order the sausages and pretzels.












How to see the sights together. There is so much to see with beautiful buildings, statues and countryside all around us.











How to drink beer together. I think we have that one figured out!

New friends



As Yvonne and I were walking through Augsberg talking in English, a small girl looked up at me and said defiantly, in German, “I don't understand anything you are saying.” I knelt down and replied in broken German, “I'm sorry we're talking in English.” Her mother said something to her and the girl said in English, “My name is Katarina.” I said my name is Alicia and she ran into my arms and gave me a kiss. Katarina continued to show off her English by saying, very well, “Do you know the muffin man.” We made new friends today.

First day


ISing Community Choir has safely arrived in Germany. Most of arrived together at Munich airport and 7:30 am. We found our bus and, after some searching and waiting, we gathered in those members who traveled here on their own and were on our way by 9:30.


We drove through the bucolic Bavarian countryside, gently rolling hills covered by fields of corn and wheat and small wood lots, to the city of Augsberg. Here we had several hours to explore the old town and eat our first German food (and drink some 'breakfast' beer).


The main point was to stay awake all day to better synchronize our internal clocks to the local time. This was hard when we returned to the warm bus, well fed and exercised, for the last leg to Roggenburg.

We are staying at the Kloster Roggensburg, a compound on the edge of town. We are housed in a fairly modern dormatory. The rooms are simple, but the common areas are open, light, and airy, and we are comfortable. They even provided a room for rehearsal and a lounge with refrigerator well stocked with local beer and wine. Ah, the comforts of traveling.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Auf Wiedersehen


As we bid a fond farewell to our supporters in Beaverton, we continued the ISing tradition of singing for a cause. We took up a collection (of over $800) at the June 19th concert that will be added to more money collected while in Germany as we sing with the choir in Burgau. All to for a local, German charity that benefits the underserved in their community. 

Thank you for your kind support. Auf Wiedersehen!
ISing Dress Rehearsal

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dress Rehearsal

ISing will be performing a free concert on Father's Day, June 19th, as a thank you to our supporters and final dress rehearsal for our concerts in Germany. Please join us at 6 pm at Bethel Congregational United Church of Christ, 5150 SW Watson in Beaverton.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ISing's Germany Tour

We'll be using this blog to keep friends and family of the ISing Community Choir members informed about our adventures in Germany and Austria. We'll be actively updating the blog between June 23 and July 3, 2011. Check back then for more.