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The SJBC Concert Choir departed on Friday, June 27 for the Czech Republic where they will represent the United States and the state of Minnesota at the International Boys' and Men's Choral Festival in Hradec Králové and Prague. The boys will travel throughout various regions of the country, exploring the nation's architecture, history and culture. This marks the choirs second trip to the Czech Republic.
In this video you'll join the boys and their parents as they say final farewells the day of their departure. The concert tour this year is being lead by the Boys' Choir new concert choir director André-Louis Heywood. André Heywood joined the St. John's Boys' Choir staff a year ago. He has a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the Don Wright Faculty of Music of the University of Western Ontario.
Another special feature of this video story is a short interview with Br. Paul Richards as he reflects back on the very first trip the Boys' Choir took to Europe. It was for 21 days and included a combination of about 30 boys and numerous parent chaperones. This years tour will include 13 days in the Czech Republic.
Friday, June 27 & Saturday, June 28
The boys did a great job of dealing with the more than 30 hours of travelling and sight-seeing. They journed first to Hluboka Castle before settling in the hostel at Cesky Krumlov. Lukas Pribyl of Boni Pueri is serving as their guide for these first few days.
Sunday, June 29
The day began by attending mass at the Church of St. Vitus. The boys were *excellent*, being very attentive even though they didn't understand a single word. They also tried singing along with some of the Czech hymns. They then spent some time rehearsing in the lobby of the hostel, drawing a number of visitors passing by on the street. After lunch was some time for shopping followed by a tour of the town on wood rafts. The boys had a free evening for socialization.
Monday, June 30
The boys started the day with a silent breakfast (a tribute to Br. Paul pehaps?) and then set off to Hradec Králové, the site of the Festival. They enjoyed a wonderful lunch at the Duran restaurant and then headed into their venue rehearsal at Holy Spirit Cathedral, a 700-year old church in the Old Town square. The boys had a great rehearsal and then spent some time settling into their dorms and having dinner. They then attended the opening ceremonies of the festival, featuring a cameo performance by each choir. The boys were particularly impressed with Boni Pueri, the host choir, and with the American Boychoir who they will sing with in November. Tomorrow begin the long days of festival rehearsals!