Helena – from Slovenia to Germany

After my visit to Ljubljana in May 2019, we prepared Helena Zupancic’s return visit to Osnabrück. My chamber choir “Vokalconsort Osnabrück”, which Helena already knew from competitions in Cork and Derry, invited her to work with them.

We chose the first weekend in February 2020 for her visit and set a packed schedule for her visit. The choir was planning to attend a competition in May 2020 and asked Helena to work on that program. In addition to that we agreed to prepare some Slovenian compositions. Most of those pieces were already known by my choir, but two pieces were new and especially prepared for Helena’s visit.

This is the list of pieces we worked on during that weekend:

Verbum supernum prodiens | Damijan Močnik (*1967)

Ave, maris stella | Tine Bec (*1993)

Hymne a la Vierge | Pierre Villette (*1954)

Daemon irrepit callidus | György Orbán (*1947)

O salutaris hostia | Ambrož Čopi (*1973)

Crucifixus | Antonio Lotti (1667-1740)

The slow spring | John Høybye (1865-1931)

Credo/I believe | Matej Kastelic (*1994)


Preparing our rehearsal weekend Helena and I discussed on which aspects she should focus while working with my choir. We decided to mainly focus on choral voice training and blend of voices.

After picking up Helena at the airport and taking her to her hotel we had our first rehearsal which excited everybody very much and made them look forward to further rehearsals.

Saturday was a real working day. We started in the morning and rehearsed with Helena until late afternoon. The choir loved to work with her and didn’t seem to get tired at all. Helena created a very pleasant working atmosphere. She was always very friendly, relaxed, patient but also strict in musical matters. Even though she was saying the same things I was steadily repeating during my work, the choir followed her right away and it seemed like the choir now better understood what was important. After having dinner together in a traditional pub in Osnabrück everybody was tired and went to bed early that night.

Sunday morning we had our last rehearsal which already prepared the concert in the afternoon. After sound check in St. Joseph’s church in Osnabrück, which has a very big acoustic, everyone was sure that the concert will be a great success. We were delighted to welcome more than 100 people coming for the concert.

To complete the program of the concert I played some pieces by Louis Vierne (150th birthday) on the organ. Everything went very well and the choir had to sing two encores before leaving the stage.

Saying farewell, thank you, hugging each other and assuring to meet again was done after the concert. It was a big honour to host Helena for a weekend and to benefit from her extraordinary work. Thanks to ECA-EC for making this project possible!

Stephan Lutermann, Vokalconsort Osnabrück