Indianapolis church photo and map of Bulgaria

The Hanover College Concert Choir and Chamber Singers will offer two presentations of their spring program in March before embarking on a unique two-week tour of Bulgaria in May.

The spring concerts will feature a repertoire that includes sacred and secular works from the contemporary American Protestant choral tradition, as well as Bulgarian and Russian Orthodox choral compositions and folk songs.

The College’s ensembles, under the direction of Madlen Batchvarova, D.M.A., will debut the program Sunday, March 24, at 4 p.m. at the Tabernacle Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, Ind. (418 East 34th Street). The choirs will perform on campus, Saturday, March 30, at 2 p.m. in Fitzgibbon Recital Hall, Lynn Center for Fine Arts.

Admission is free to both performances.

“The Hanover College Choir could not be more excited for our busy concert season,” said senior Jake Zurschmiede. “We are incredibly glad to have the opportunity to showcase all of our hard work in performances on-campus and in Indianapolis. The selected repertoire for this semester is special.”

Vocal music has been part of Hanover’s curriculum since 1838. During its 180-year history, the College’s choir has performed throughout the U.S., including such venues as New York City’s Carnegie Hall. In recent years, the ensembles have performed at Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s swearing-in ceremony, prior to professional sporting events and, last year, toured Tennessee, Georgia and Florida.

The Hanover College Concert Choir and Chamber Singers have previously performed overseas, including stops in Europe. The May 6-19 journey, however, will mark the choral program’s first visit to Bulgaria.

“I am extremely excited to work with other choirs across Bulgaria,” said junior Rebecca Thorpe. “Not only to help teach them about the gospel music we perform here in America, but to also learn from them about the uniqueness that is Bulgarian music.”

Batchvarova, professor of music at Hanover, is a native of Sofia, Bulgaria. An experienced conductor, pianist, singer, clinician, adjudicator and Grammy Award recipient, Batchvarova has directed festival, honor and all-state choirs in the U.S., Canada, Austria and Bulgaria. She will lead the tour that will feature not only performances, but also in-depth educational and collaborative opportunities with Bulgarian choirs.

Hanover’s students will start the tour in Plovdiv, an ancient city in southern Bulgaria. The ensembles will study contemporary music by local composer Plamen Arabov during a workshop with Chamber Choir Ivan Spassov, directed by Gergana Lyutzkanova. The College’s students will study and sing with students from the Dobrin Petkov School of Music and Dance Art during a solo demonstration and choral clinics on the Bulgarian folk-style of singing.

The Hanover College Concert Choir and Chamber Singers will join the Chamber Choir Ivan Spassov and the folk choir of the Dobrin Petkov School for a joint festival concert May 10 in the concert hall at the National Music School. Each ensemble will present selections by Bulgarian and American composers and all choirs will perform the songs jointly.

The College’s ensembles will travel to Stara Zagora, in central Bulgaria, May 11, where Batchvarova will lead workshops on American gospel music during the Third International Choral Festival Avgusta Trayana. The Hanover College Choir will serve as the demonstration choir for the workshop. The ensemble will also perform a separate concert program at the festival, which will conclude with a mass choir performing American gospel songs under Batchvarova’s direction.

Hanover’s students will travel to Varna, a coastal city on the Black Sea, May 14-15, for a choral workshop and performances with the Dobri Hristov Youth Choir, directed by Galina Stanisheva.

While in Varna, Batchvarova will lead a clinic on American gospel music, while Hanover’s singers will study and perform songs by local composer Dobri Hristov. The Hanover College Choir and Dobri Hristov Youth Choir will present a public concert. Each ensemble will perform individually and the concert will conclude with a mass choir performance by both ensembles.