Biola University’s Chorale toured parts of Europe in April ministering to audiences through music. Thirty-three gifted students made up this year’s Chorale and each of them were enriched by the seven-day trip.

During their Germany tour this spring, titled “In The Footsteps of Bach,” the Chorale brought the gospel to audiences through choral music in six different cities throughout Germany and the Czech Republic. Shawna Stewart, director of choral activities, chose this year’s international tour destination because of her appreciation for the music of J.S. Bach.

“I have a great personal love for the music of Bach and I really wanted to introduce the students to Bach via the places he worked and served God,” said Stewart.

The real-life experience the tour provides makes a significant impact on the students, she said.

“The education received from experiencing another culture firsthand is beyond measure,” Stewart said. “I believe it is crucial for personal growth.”

Some of the more notable moments of the trip included: singing in the famous Thomaskirche at which Bach spent many of his most prolific years; singing for the mayor of Weimar; participating in an ecumenical service with students at the University of Leipzig; visiting a famous opera house in Beyreuth; and experiencing the Buchenwald concentration camp.

“I loved visiting the Bach museum in Eisenach, Leipzig, and the town of Weimar — all areas in Germany,” said freshman Anna Kietzman on her three favorite historical sights.

Students said it was a blessing to be able to perform for international audiences.

“My favorite memories from the trip would be our first concert in the Ordenskirche in Bayreuth, where the people were so receptive and I felt that both we and our audience were really blessed; and worshipping with and meeting Christian college students at the University of Leipzig,” said senior Chorale member Nathan Wagenet.

Not only did students share the gospel through song, but they also received a lasting educational experience.

Biola’s Conservatory of Music provides this opportunity for their Chorale students every four years, and it has been an exceptional asset to the music program, Stewart said.

“Music is our ministry,” Stewart said. “It is our vehicle for communicating the truth of Christ and the beauty, joy and life found in him.”

Written by Ashleigh Fox, Media Relations Intern. For more information, contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, at 562.777.4061 or at