Mill Creek Chorale returns from memorable European tour

By Dan Aznoff | Aug 02, 2018
Courtesy of: Kristn Harbak Long-time Mill Creek residents Lisa and Chris Steckler were all smiles while they posed in front of one of the most iconic structures in the world. In addition to the hours she dedicates to the Mill Creek Chorale, Lisa is active with the Jackson High PTA and is a member of the new Mill Creek Kiwanis Club. Chris graduated from Jackson in 2013 and sang with choirs while he attended the University of Washington.

Having just returned from their European Debut Tour, The Mill Creek Chorale brought home memories that will last a lifetime.

Choir director Sean Berg is a seasoned traveler who owned and operated Sechrist Travel, a performance tour company.  He spends a good part of the year leading performance groups from around the country on international tours, but has never had the pleasure of taking his own choir.

The Mill Creek Chorale (MCC) is an audition based, 80-member choir, entering its fifth season.  The singers are members of the Mill Creek community, as well as several neighboring towns ranging in age from 16 to over 70.

Sadly, not all of the choir members could pack up and head to Europe for two weeks, but a whopping 45 of them did. With the addition of family and friends, Sean hauled two coaches filled with 75 eager travelers on the trip of a lifetime.

The two-week tour started in Salzburg, Austria, where the choir had the privilege of walking through the grounds of some of the Sound of Music sites and performing a concert at the Cathedral of Salzburg.

After packing up in Salzburg, the group boarded their two buses to headed toward Hodinin in the Czech Republic. But only after making a stop for a tour and a quick recital at Melk Abbey.

Once the chorale arrived to the welcome of the mayor of Hodinin (who was also the owner of the hotel), they freshened up and put on their concert black attire to head to the center of the town, where they performed a concert to a large, captive audience at the Church of St. Lawrence.

Off to Vienna in Austria the next morning, with a stop and small performance at the Schonbrunn Palace. The MCC performed a concert together with a local organist at St. Peter's Church.

Packing up yet again, they departed the next morning for Prague.  This was a long day on the bus, broken up by stops at rest areas, and the crowd favorite, The Church of Bones, which is artistically decorated by over 40,000 human skeletons.  After a much needed good night's sleep in Prague, the choir prepared for a formal concert at St. Nicholas Church.  The picture perfect day was rounded off with a lovely Jazz Dinner Cruise on the Vltava River.

Leaving Prague and heading for Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber in Germany, the group made a quick stop in Ulm for a short walking tour, and for a few adventurous (or maybe a little crazy) folks, a 768 stair climb to the top of Ulm Munster's great gothic spire for a glorious view of the city.

Then, back on the coaches for possibly one of the most memorable stops on the tour.

Traveling down small winding roads, the coaches full of silly (sleep deprived), singing choir folk made their way to the schoolhouse in Bibertal-Kissendorf, where the gracious locals had cooked them a potluck dinner.  Filled with great conversation, local entertainment and a song about a bullfrog, the two communities connected over dinner and drinks.  They all walked together to the town's church, Kirche St. Mauritius, where the MCC performed an hour long concert.  Goosebumps and tears were shared between the locals and the choir.  They made a connection through the music, creating a night to remember.

After the concert, the choir had to make a fairly quick departure because they had not yet reached their final destination for the evening, so back on the coaches and onto Rothenburg in Germany, where they stayed for two nights.  While in the picturesque town, the MCC performed at the Church of the Holy Ghost, enjoyed a bit of time on their own, as well as going on the Nightwatchman's Tour.  This was the final concert with the entire group, as some departed shortly after the next day's sightseeing in Munich.

Though a small group departed the tour, the majority continued on, catching a short flight from Munich to Paris where the opportunity of a lifetime awaited.  Performing at Notre Dame is something not many musicians get to experience, but that's what they did.  They saw the sights of the city, but nothing compared to the experience of singing at Notre Dame.

Riding that high, the group went on a river cruise to take in the beautiful city as the sun began to set.

After one more day in Paris, they sadly had to say goodbye to the jet setting lifestyle and head back to their families, friends, and jobs.  But none will soon forget the great memories created on this awe inspiring tour.

The MCC is a diverse group of performers who meet once a week to rehearse for their biannual concerts that take place in May and December.  Catch their upcoming Christmas Concerts, scheduled this year on Dec. 1 at 3 and 7 p.m. at Lynnwood High School.

For information about the Mill Creek Chorale, contact Sean Berg at

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