Tour History
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Welcome!
New York 2008
 
June 29, 2009Shulamit Hoffmann
Choir and Orchestra Performed June 29, 2009 in Carnegie Hall, NYC - Conductor: Shulamit Hoffmann

Viva la Musica was pleased to announce that they were returning to New York City in 2009 to sing at Carnegie Hall, again, this time under their own director, Shulamit Hoffmann, who had been invited to conduct.
 


New York, New York-what a wonderful town! This was a once-in-a- lifetime experience for me!

Jane Goold-Caulfield




It was an awesome trip--three Broadway shows, several wonderful dinners! Who could ask for anything more?

Doris and Wendell Lehr




You cannot imagine what Carnegie is like until you actually sing in it!

Deirdre Lobo-D'Cunha




I am so happy to have had the opportunity to join Viva la Musica! ... on stage at Carnegie Hall – a magical, nearly surreal 37 minutes complemented by all the fun I had traveling with my new friends for a memorable New York experience!

Christine Niccoli




What made our NYC experience near perfect was the balance between rehearsing, performing, planned outings, and free time. I found the locals to be polite, friendly, helpful, kind, and thoughtful. And wasn't our location and the weather ideal?

Jill Opperud
 
 

   


Welcome!
New York 2008
 
June 29, 2008
Choir and Orchestra Performed June 29, 2008 in Carnegie Hall, NYC - Conductor: John Rutter
New York 2008

 
 
 


Singing Rutter's Mass of the Children in Carnegie Hall was as close to the heavenly chorus as I expect to come in my lifetime. A wonderful experience..

Susan Besser




I believe singing in Carnegie Hall ranks as one of the 1000 (or so) things you must do before you die--if you're a singer!

Carole Cameron




Singing under John Rutter was a wonderful experience, but Shu actually worked us harder and more thoroughly!

Don Cameron




The two things I take from our Carnegie experience are the "Carnegie Crescendo" and the way John Rutter explained to the children where to cut off the note -- his "penguin wing" demonstration.

Terri Cook




The Carnegie experience for me was magical, magnificent, and memorable! The music, prayer like!

Therese Curotto




What a wonderful time we had! I felt so well prepared (thank you). It was indeed a nice experience, and though it will be my third trip to Manhattan in four years, I will be on the list next year, "the Good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise!"

Ruth Evans




New York, New York-what a wonderful town! This was a once-in-a- lifetime experience for me! A birthday present not to be equaled. Dr. Rutter was able and gracious as only a person in his position could be, his music all the more beautiful when he conducted it. I'm grateful to him for the opportunity and to everyone who made it happen.

Jane Goold-Caulfield




It was thrilling and inspiring to sing John Rutter’s music, under his direction, at Carnegie Hall, with our choir!

Jan Grady




Our trip highlights: Meeting and working with John Rutter…singing with twenty strong tenors…the Metropolitan Museum Of Art which had a special exhibit of Turner's Sea Disaster paintings…the Frick Collection…the convenient location of the Hyatt…the Carnegie Hall experience…using the New York Subway system…the wide variety of Broadway plays… visiting Ellis Island…touring the Lower East Side Tenement NHS…viewing the special waterfall exhibits…walking and carriage ride in Central Park.

Jim and Janet Holl




I had a great time. Wow, Shulamit, music, Shulamit, good friends, Shulamit, good fun, Shulamit, good food, Carnegie Hall, Columbia Teachers College, Shulamit, cruise ship, parties, dancing, great friends, Shulamit! It was a great privilege to travel with such inspiring people. I had a wonderful time and can’t wait for next year. As you can tell I love to travel with Shulamit.

Stanley Hutchinson (Shulamit’s husband!)




It was thrilling to hear the depth of the full adult chorus sing at the beginning of the first rehearsal with John Rutter and to know that I was a part of it. Later, the sweet pure sound of the children's chorus was very moving.

Sharon Jenks




Loved our trip to NYC! Faves were John Rutter's generous, exuberant spirit; an after-dark, open-air, double-decker bus tour of the city lights; a Tony-Award-winning, Pulitzer-prize-winning play; ballet at the Metropolitan Opera with gorgeous sets; Cafe Metro and Grand Central Station cheap eats; and running into our fellow travelers frequently in the Big City. Sign us up for Part ll with Shu!

Ann Keiffer




I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams singing a John Rutter composition in Carnegie Hall under the baton of John Rutter. It was GRAND!

Darlyne Lamb




It was an awesome trip--three Broadway shows, several wonderful dinners, plus singing with John Rutter conducting! Who could ask for anything more?

Doris and Wendell Lehr




You cannot imagine what Carnegie is like until you actually sing in it!

Deirdre Lobo-D'Cunha




I am so happy to have had the opportunity to join Viva la Musica!, Los Altos United Methodist Church Chancel Choir, and others in singing what may be my most favorite piece, the beautiful Mass of the Children, conducted by the composer himself, John Rutter, on stage at Carnegie Hall – a magical, nearly surreal 37 minutes complemented by all the fun I had traveling with my new friends for a memorable New York experience!

Christine Niccoli




What made our NYC experience near perfect was the balance between rehearsing, performing, planned outings, and free time. The city itself and John Rutter's music and conducting were absolutely vibrant and inspiring. I found the locals to be polite, friendly, helpful, kind, and thoughtful. They gave credit to Mayor Bloomberg and 9/11. And wasn't our location and the weather ideal?

Jill Opperud




I loved the experience of singing in a hall that I have seen on TV and in pictures. Mr. Rutter did not exaggerate the beauty of the hall's acoustics. Also, I had a chance to take a picture with Meredith Vieira from the TODAY SHOW during my free time, of course -- a big thrill for me.

Michael John Ruybalid




Well-organized, inspiring, adventurous, and unforgettable! Thanks to all the leaders and organizers who made this trip one of the best experiences for me!

Janice Sheng




A huge thank you for an awesome experience! As I was hiking the Appalachian Trail in the days after Carnegie, I kept hearing the Mass!!

Becky Snedigar




To imagine that I have performed beautiful music in a world famous music hall with 250 others under a renowned director AT MY AGE is still being realized slowly ---but it's coming!!

Mary Ann Weisberg




Carnegie Hall, what an honor to sing there! All the months of rehearsal, the anticipation, the hurry and scurry of just getting there. So magical a moment when you first walk on stage. The nerves fluttering, not wanting to be the one to make a mistake. The awe you have seeing the audience out there waiting with anticipation. The great joy in completing the music and not making a fool of yourself. How proud I was at the look on John Rutter’s face as he bowed to us! The overwhelming emotions as I stood there watching everyone file out of the hall. Being one of the last to leave the hall, empty but still so full of history, and now to be a part of that, oh how it makes me smile.

Karen Willard




Our New York City/Carnegie Hall tour offered a terrific balance of serious choral preparation and performance with the freedom to immerse myself in the excitement and fast-paced glamour that only New York City can offer. Each day was an invitation to enjoy, explore, adventure-seek and challenge myself in innumerable, unforgettable ways.

Pat Velarde
 
 
     
  Viva Goes to Austria
New York 2008
 
December 4-12, 2006
An account of Viva's trip Salzburg through Vienna by Ann Keiffer, Vivan Soprano and Writer Extraordinaire!

On December 4, 2006, the day after Viva’s two sold-out holiday concerts, 38 members of Viva la Musica! and 26 of our beloved groupies (spouses, partners, friends) flew out of San Francisco, winging our way to Munich. There we boarded a double-decker bus so bulky it looked like it had been pumping iron with Guv Arnold. The driver of our Vivamobile for the entire trip was the ever-stern-faced Ewald. While it was hard to coax a smile out of Ewald, the guy could parallel park that monster bus…with a trailer of luggage attached! That first afternoon, evening, morning—what time is it?—Ewald drove us from Munich over the Alps to spend our first three days in Salzburg and then four in Vienna. This was a “working” tour in that Viva performed, trekked and oggled the sights on a very busy timetable. And our groupies kept right up with us. This reporter is sharing with you something of our experiences …because you might want to start planning now to join us on our next European tour in 2009.
New York 2008
Your reporter must preface any further remarks and observations by acknowledging that she and probably a number of the other travelers are still recovering from jet-lag and at the same time suffering the withdrawal of European drinking chocolate (hot chocolate from a parallel universe.) But I’ll struggle on not under the influence of Viennese hot chocolate, first speaking of the weather…

There was no snow in Austria! All we Californians had geared up as if for Artic exploration. The UPS truck delivered packages from Lands End and other fine purveyors of outdoor gear all over the Belmont-San Mateo-Foster City area until we Vivans and friends were finally fully outfitted in long underwear, weather-proof boots, gloves, coats, scarves, hats, sock-liners, and 180’s (those nifty earmuffs that go around the back of your head and hug your ears from behind). But it turned out we’d stuffed our suitcases with a lot of stuff we didn’t end up needing. It poured a cold rain one night. Otherwise, the harshest thing about the weather during our stay was the nip in the air—near the end, a nip biting enough to leave teeth marks.
New York 2008
Memorable sights, sounds, aromas, and tastes: Horse-drawn carriages decked with holiday garlands. Cobblestone streets…maybe I should say “hobblestone!” Church bells, really big authoritative, get-yourself-to-Mass bells, chiming throughout the day. Very cheerful and flamboyantly elegant deep gold paint, the favored color inside and out, even on public buildings. Gilt woodwork, trim, edging, statuary. Artistry of architecture everywhere. Great cathedrals with massive altarpieces, pillars, and arches in proportions that would have you remember how big God is. Also tiny little pews that seem to forget how big the human backside is! Ceilings painted with cherubs, angels, battle scenes, Biblical characters…giving beauty-gawkers actual pains in the neck. Long, long, long drapes of Christmas lights cascading down public buildings and swaying in the wind.. More swags of lights trailing down from the buildings then sweeping up over the center of the street and shaping into outdoor “chandeliers.”
New York 2008
The park in front of the “Town Hall” of Vienna, where the trees were festooned with huge lighted bell ornaments of many colors, shining star ornaments, and red thingamajiggies of like proportions, all above a little carnival of sweet, time-gone-by amusement rides. Palaces and castles with dainty little furniture, extravagant woodwork, sumptuous fabrics, even a bed-cover be-decked with jewels. Cafés where the Viennese stop each afternoon for a coffee and “a little cake” (apfelstrudel, sachertorte, all sorts of perfect little pastries lined up in the lighted glass showcases like frothy unmentionables from Victoria’s Secret.) And oh, the hot chocolate. Forget cocoa, this is shaved chocolate melted with steamed milk and a dollop of divine whipped cream on the top. Open-air Christmas markets, sturdy little wooden buildings chock-a-block in areas of town, rather like an artist/crafts faire specific to the season: ornaments, glass creations, candles, toys, mittens, soap, perfumes, scarves, mulled wine and hot punch, confections and so much more. Old, young, families with babies in strollers and little ones by the hand, plying the crowd in the joyful spirit of tradition, family and celebration. And, of course, music, music, music!
New York 2008
Especially memorable moments with Viva: Our Director Shulamit’s gift for demanding the best out of whomever she’s got standing in front of her, watching her go from tense and just a teensy bit crazed in the ramp-up to every concert into a state of grace during each concert, letting go of anything that wasn’t perfect and always making eyes at us, coaxing us, loving us into our best singing selves. Singing in the cavernous university church in Salzburg. No comforts such as heat, only cold, cold stone and beautiful proportions. And such acoustics! We sounded like a choir twice our size! Singing on a stage in front of a giant, lighted Christmas tree at Schönbrunn Palace at the Christmas market. Shulamit admitting to the cold just a bit by directing with an elegant shawl thrown around her shoulders. Hundreds of people enjoying their neighbors, holiday goodies, shopping, hot mulled wine, the starry night, and our music. A woman standing in front of the stage with her children, her smile as she sang along with a traditional Austrian Christmas song Viva sang in German (or at least an approximation of German.) A little boy and girl who walked up the steps and stood stage-right, their eyes wide, taking in all these grown-ups with egg-shakers, drums, hand bells, alleluias and music you wanted to move to.

And most of all, singing our biggest concert in Karlskirche (St. Charles cathedral) in Vienna. So soaring the ceiling, so extravagant and glorious the altarpiece, so freezing, bone-aching cold the sanctuary. We wore concert dress, no coats, but many of us had donned so many layers of clothing underneath we waddled as we walked. When we sang, our breath came out white. The concert-goers crowded the pews in their thick winter coats, swathed in scarves and hats, their breath white, too. In a very small solo, in one song, this reporter sang “rejoice, rejoice, rejoice,” and I felt my rejoice as a part of my heart I was sending out to every person in the pews. Our closing song was a Cameroon chant “Praise, Praise, Praise the Lord.” As we walked down the aisle of the church singing, I looked down every row, making eye contact with people, feeling the absolute wonder and magic and joy of connecting with people from such a long way across the world. Love and connection is all. Love and connection among the choir members, with Shu, with our groupies, with the people of Austria. May we always and ever be ambassadors of music and love. And may you come with us next time!
 
 
     
 
Viva Goes to Austria
New York 2008
 
June 16-19, 2005
Viva was selected by audition to participate in the Vermont Chior Festival along with five other choirs. They performed in a mass choir concert as well as in three other venues.
New York 2008
The program featured the Misa Criolla, a passionate folk-mass based on indigenous music of South America; African-American spirituals; folk songs made famous by Peter, Paul & Mary, Peter Seeger, and the Weavers; songs of Jewish life; and vintage favorites of the Von Trapp Family of "The Sound of Music" fame. The Von Trapp Family is intimately connected to the Festival, as the concert itself is presented in a voluminous white amphitheater in a meadow on the grounds of the Von Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, a renowned skiing and vacation paradise.
New York 2008
All participating choirs came together for intensive daily rehearsals under the direction of Robert De Cormier, renowned music arranger for such music-scene luminaries as Peter, Paul & Mary and Harry Belafonte. In addition, Viva la Musica! performed on its own in three different venues; on-stage at the opening of the mass concert, in the Festival's concert series, and at a Sunday morning worship service in a white-steepled, quintessentially New England church in Stowe.
New York 2008
Tenor Roman Saenz says, "This was the experience of a lifetime for us singers. Performing en masse with other choirs was uplifting and we realized afresh what a quality experience Viva la Musica! is." In addition to their musical endeavors, Vivans also enjoyed the picturesque village of Stowe, a dinner-dance cruise on Lake Champlain, a gondola ride to the expansive vistas atop Mt. Mandsfield, a tour of Ben & Jerry's Ice-Cream factory, shopping in vibrant Burlington, and a final candlelit celebration dinner in an elegant English Inn.
 
 
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