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Valparaiso University’s Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Christopher Cock, will return to Germany for its fourth residency at the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, celebrating the 800th anniversary of the church and its choir, the Thomanerchor.

The Chorale is the only collegiate American choir to enjoy such a strong relationship with the church of Johann Sebastian Bach. The tour runs from May 29 through June 9.

“Taking members of the Valparaiso University Chorale to the church of J.S. Bach has been one of the personal highlights of my career,” Cock said. “When we perform the music of Bach in the St. Thomas Church we are, quite literally, transported to a different time and place. We will, once again, collaborate with the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra as we perform some of the greatest music ever written.”

The highlight of the tour comes on June 2 when Valparaiso University President Mark Heckler will join the tour to celebrate Valpo’s decade-long friendship with the St. Thomas Church. A service will precede the formalizing of an agreement with the St. Thomas Church and Valpo that will strengthen the relationship with the goal of continuing cultural, musical, educational, and theological exchanges.

“Our relationship with the St. Thomas Church is rich and fulfilling as we share our Lutheran heritage and our love of music,” Heckler said. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to recognize this important friendship as we ensure its future for years to come.”

The Chorale tour also will cross paths with a faculty-led tour of Germany for Valpo alumni. The tour is led by Associate Professor of Theology Matthew Becker. Becker is the former director of the Reutlingen program.

In addition to services in Leipzig on June 1, 2, 3, and 9, the Chorale will once again partner with the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra to present a selection of Bach’s cantatas in Bernburg, Köthen and Meißen.

The Chorale also will visit the small farming community of Mark Zwuschen, where the Chorale dedicated the first church that was built in the former East Germany during its tour in 2010. The visit concludes with a service of thanksgiving, followed by a dinner with the community.

The Valparaiso University Chorale is among the top Lutheran collegiate choirs in the United States, upholding the highest standard of choral art through performance of the greatest choral literature of all eras. Dedicated to performing works that celebrate the University’s Lutheran heritage, the choir is also noted for the performance of significant contemporary works in their original languages and for the performance of music expressing multicultural perspectives.

To follow the Chorale before, during, and after the tour, visit blogs.valpo.edu/choraletour2012, where you will find stories, photos, and videos from faculty, staff, and students.