For Elisabeth Orlowski, an incoming senior at Aliso Niguel High School, the prospect of heading to Europe didn’t seem like such a bad way to kick off her summer.
Orlowski, along with other members of the school’s choir and the Red Hill Lutheran Church Chancel Choir, were offered the chance to see the sights and sing in a handful of cities in Germany and the Czech Republic as part of the 500th-anniversary celebration of Martin Luther and the Reformation.
The private trip was organized by Jason Harney, director of music for both choir groups. For over a decade, Harney has taken students on tours to countries such as Italy, France and England. This year’s group included about 60 people, Harney said, a quarter of which were students from Aliso Niguel.
“I remember thinking how exciting it would be, but it also felt so unreal, even after my mom had signed us both up,” Orlowski said. “I really wanted to go because I had never been to Europe before, and getting to experience it for the first time while also doing what I love seemed perfect.”
A highlight of the trip came on the final day of the Luther 2017 Choral Festival in Berlin, when the group joined several hundred other American singers in performing pieces by Mendelssohn and Bach inside Berliner Dom, the city’s largest cathedral.
“Singing with the other choirs in Berlin was a very unique experience,” Orlowski said. “The concert itself ran smoothly, and it was empowering to be able to convey the feelings and lyrics of the songs.”