The Illinois State University Concert Choir, one of the premier choirs in the School of Music, recently visited Prague, Salzburg, and Venice as part of their 2018 European Concert Tour. Performing in venues such as St. Nicholas Church, Bergheim Church, and St. Mark’s Basilica, this year’s trip marked the group’s fourth international tour.


Departing from Chicago, the group’s 10-day adventure began in Prague with a visit to the Prague Castle, the office of President Miloš Zeman and the largest ancient castle in the world (according to Guinness World Records); and a walk down the Golden Lane and across the Charles Bridge to the city’s Old Town, which provided stunning views of the city. The choir performed for the 6 p.m. mass at the Church of Our Lady of the Snows, a special mass celebrating the Feast Day of St. John Nepomucene, the Patron of Bohemia. The mass, including the choir’s performance, was broadcast on the radio for all of Prague to hear.

The second day in Prague included a visit to the Jewish museum, the Old-New Synagogue, the Jewish Cemetery, and the Spanish Synagogue, all before the the first full concert performance at the Church of St. Nicholas.


En route to Salzburg, the choir stopped at St. Florian, an early ninth-century Augustinian monastery which provided not only a break from the bus ride, but an opportunity to practice some of their pieces for the church’s band in one of the beautiful halls.

In Salzburg the choir toured the Hallein Salt Mine and Schloss Hellbrunn Palace, an early Baroque villa. Located on the grounds of the palace were the notable features of jeux d’eau (“water games”) and the gazebo used in the film Sound of Music for the song “Sixteen Going On Seventeen.”

The choir performed at the Pfarrkirche Gnigle Parish Church for the Vesper service with a full concert following. The Vesper service and performance was a benefit for the community which raised $600, with all funds going to provide assistance for refugees as well as community families.

While in Salzburg, the choir visited Mozart’s birthplace, explored the local area, and put on an impromptu performance for the tourists in the streets of the city, in addition to performing the Pentecost High Mass at the Bergheim Church.

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Arriving by boat, the choir began their visit of Venice with a tour of the Murano glass factory, known for their chandelier work; a visit to St. Mark’s Basilica; and a ride in the city’s famous gondolas. The final performance of the trip, evening mass at St. Mark’s Basilica, was a highlight for many in the group.

You can read more about the Concert Choir’s European adventure, meet the choir members, see photos and view videos from the places the group toured by visiting the trip blog.