2009 Germany and France

In the summer of 2009 the youth choir toured Munich, Amberg, Nürnberg, Gebenbach, Cologne, Vimy Ridge, Versailles, and Paris.

Click here to see photos from the tour


The journey begins!

    2:30pm    -    47 passenger coach from Cherrey Bus Lines to arrive in St. Thomas  at the Elgin Mall Parking Lot, 417 Wellington Street for loading of passengers and luggage  
    3:00pm    -    board motorcoach and depart for Pearson International Airport, Toronto - Terminal # 1 - Ground Level
    5:00pm    -    arrive at the Ground Level Air Canada group check in counter and meet your Tour Manager - Tracey McCormick to check in with Air Canada (we recommend international groups to check in at least 3 hours prior to scheduled departure time)
    8:00pm    -    scheduled flight via Air Canada flight # 846 non-stop to Munich International Airport, Germany (flying time: 8hr 05 min)
-    dinner served in flight  

Day 2 -  WEDNESDAY JULY 15 - arrival MUNICH      B/D

Overnight flight to Munich.

Exploring Munich. The clock is about to sound, sending statues marching across the balconies!

        -    breakfast served prior to landing
    10:05am    -    flight arrival time into Munich International Airport - Terminal # 2
        -    collect luggage, clear customs and meet your locally hired motorcoach and Munch guide (set watches to local time)
    11:00am    -    board coach and depart on a guided coach and walking tour of Munich, the capital of Bavaria, on your tour, visit the Marienplatz, which features the neo-gothic Rathaus with its world famous Glockenspiel, the old town, with its Frauenkirche Cathedral and the beautifully restored St. Peter's Church and the celebrated Hofbrauhaus.  Your tour will feature tales from, and visit sites of, one of the most famous events in the history of Nazi Germany, the Beer Hall Putsch which took place in the centre of Munich in 1923.  This resulted in Hitler's imprisonment and his writing of the famous book, Mein Kampf.

    1:00pm    -    your tour ends with time to shop or explore in your chaperoned groups in the main square
    3:00pm    -    meet in front of the Rate Hous and walk to your coach to depart for your hotel
    4:00pm    -    arrive and check into your accommodation at the Rater Park Hotel for a 1 night stay
    6:00pm    -    group dinner at the hotel
        -    remainder of evening at the hotel - rest after a long travel day!


On our way to perform at St. Peter's Cathedral in Regensberg.

Singing in Regensberg Cathedral.

    8:30am    -    continental breakfast included
    9:30am    -    check out, coach loading followed with departure for Kastl
    11:00am    -    enroute stop in Regensburg, Germany's best preserved medieval city arrive at the city's Gothic Cathedral of St. Peter was built from 1274-1520 on the site of a large Romanesque church, some portions of which are integrated into the current structure. The spires and upper portions of the towers are 19th Century additions
        -    meet your guide at the Bus Terminal to begin your guided tour
    12:30pm    -    tour concludes at the cathedral where the St. Thomas Youth Choir will perform in St. Peter's Cathedral (30 minutes)
    1:00pm    -    after the concert you will have time to purchase lunch (we suggest a stop at the sausage kitchen)
    3:00pm    -    meet as a group and walk back to the coach park, board coach and continue your journey to Kastl (approximately 1 hour drive)
    4:00pm    -    arrive in Kastl at the Hotel Forsthof to check in for 4 nights (20 minutes from Amberg)
        -    Kastle is a romantic small town near Amberg in the valley of the River Lauterach, visitors can learn more about the town at the Museum of Local History
        -    you will meet your OIK tour guide Mr. Lothar Mohlmann and local contact Mrs. Waltraud Lutter from Jugendblasorchester Kastle (Youth Wind Orchestra) at the hotel
    6:30pm    -    dinner provided by the festival at your hotel
Please note:  all festival arrangements are subject to the 2009 festival schedule
 Meals to be provided by the festival organization.

Lunch at a local water park before heading to our hotel.

Day 4 -  FRIDAY JULY 17 - FESTIVAL    (B) (L) (D)

Getting ready to march in the "Burgerfest" parade in Amberg.

Waiting in line for German sausage before our performance in Amberg town square.

    8:00am    -    continental breakfast provided by the festival at your hotel
        -    visit to the elementary school of Kastl, Grundschule Kastl, with a musical performance by the St. Thomas Youth Choir
    -    board your coach and depart for the town of Hirschau where you will have a chance to go swimming at the public pool
        -    return to Kastle via Amberg with possible sightseeing
        -    Amberg is an old medieval town still ringed by old city walls with gates and towers - visit Old Castle housing the Prehistoric Museum, the town hall or St. Martins Church
    6:30pm    -    meeting with the Musikverein Kastl (Musical Society) at the old train station (Alter Bahnhof) for a joint rehearsal
    7:00pm    -    after meeting with several other local and regional music groups at the old train station, parade as part of the "Burgerfest" (local town festival) with participation of the St. Thomas Youth Choir leading from the old train station to the Marketplace
        -    on arrival welcome of all music groups by the mayor of Kastl, Mr. Bruno Haberkorn followed by performances of the local and regional music groups
        -    dinner provided by the festival at the festival
    9:00pm    -    performance by the St. Thomas Youth Choir (20 minutes)
    10:00pm    -    group will return to the hotel
Note: coach not required for the evening, the festival location is within walking distance to the

Day 5 - SATURDAY JULY 18 - FESTIVAL (Ansbach)    (B) (L) (D)

1940's picture of the Zeppelinfeld (Zeppelin Field) in Nürnberg where the Nazi's held their rallies.

Zeppelinfelt today. Hitler spoke from the center balcony to thousands of German soldiers.

The choir standing on the balcony where Hitler once stood to address the crowds on the field behind.

One of the Nürnberg rallies at Zeppelinfelt.

Finishing up dessert before the concert.

    7:00am    -    continental breakfast provided by the festival at your hotel
-    meeting with the entire group, the tour escort and the coach driver at the hotel
    9:00am    -    departure for an excursion to the beautiful small town of Ansbach with enroute visits to Nürnberg or Rothenburg ob der Tauber
-    Nurnberg - in medieval times it has been both a great commercial metropolis and a center of arts - be sure to visit the famous "Handwerkerhof" located at the town wall in front of the Main Station, where you can see Nurnberg artisans perform their crafts
-    Rothenburg ob der Tauber - virtually unchanged since the sixteenth century - suggest a walk on the old city walls
    1:00pm    -    depart for Ansbach - half medieval, half Baroque, a peaceful Franconian town which owes its fame to the Hohenzollerns. The Margraves of the House of Hohenzollern's Frankish line settled in Ansbach and Bayreuth as early as the 13C.
        -    Since then the two towns have often been associated in history - the Ansbach-Bayreuth Dragoons, for example, fought under Frederick the Great. On the feminine side, the cultivated Margravines of the 18C, one of whom - Friederike Luise - was a sister of Queen Wilhelmina, made the life of Ansbach Court almost as brilliant as that of Bayreuth
    2:00pm    -    arrive in Ansbach and proceed to the Pfarrheim (vicarage) Christkonigkirche - welcome with snacks
    3:30pm    -    enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Ansbach
    4:30pm    -    break before concert
    5:00pm    -    arrival at the church Christkonnigkirche and rehearsal
    5:30pm    -    participation at the church service
    6:30pm    -    performance by the St. Thomas Youth Choir after the service (30 minutes)
    7:00pm    -    come together with members of the audience and enjoy a party with dinner
    9:00pm    -    return to Kastl for the evening
    10:00pm    -    arrive at the hotel for overnight accommodation

Performance at Christkonnigkirche (Christ the King Church) in Ansbach.

Day 6 - SUNDAY JULY 19 - FESTIVAL (Gebenbach)    (B) (L) (D)

Waiting with the crowd before our performance at the Amberg Festival in Gebenbach.

Not speaking the language doesn't stop the kids from making new friends!

    7:15am    -    continental breakfast provided by the festival at your hotel
    8:00am    -    group to meet and board locally hired coach, Omnibus Lindner Gmbh (own coach blocked off for the day)
    8:15am    -    depart for the town of Gebenbach for the International Day at the 29th OIK International Youth Music Festival
    8:45am    -    arrival at the St. Martin's Church (Pfarrkirche St. Martin) for a rehearsal
    9:30am    -    participation at the local church service with musical integration of several music groups (St. Thomas Youth Choir to participate in 3 songs)
    10:30am    -    after the church service, procession through town
    11:00am    -    Open Air meeting with the other local bands, conductors and choir leaders at the "Grundschule Gebenbach" (elementary school) Schultstr.
        -    all festival groups will be performing
    12:40pm    -    performance by the St. Thomas Youth Choir (20 minutes)    
    1:00pm    -    conclude performance
        -    Meals and snacks throughout day will be provided by the "Wind Music Association Gebenbach"
    7:15pm    -    return to Kastl for the evening by your locally hired coach
    8:00pm    -    dinner provided by the festival at your hotel

Day 7 - MONDAY JULY 20 - to COLOGNE    (B) D

One of the highlights of the tour was performing in Cologne Cathedral.

One of the highlights of the tour was performing in Cologne Cathedral.

    7:00am    -    continental breakfast to be provided by the festival at your hotel
    7:30am    -    check out followed by coach loading and saying good bye to your OIK tour guide and festival contact
    8:00am    -    board coach and depart for Cologne, founded by the Romans and the oldest city in Germany
        -    you will drive long the beautiful Rhine River from Bingen to Koblenz enroute
    2:00pm    -    arrive into Cologne and begin your visit at Cologne Cathedral with its two spires 157 metres in height, has been the city's most famous landmark for centuries and the most well-known architectural monument in Germany. It took 632 years until construction of the largest German cathedral was completed.
    2:30pm    -    performance of 2 pieces by St. Thomas Youth Choir
    3:00pm    -    reload the coach depart for your accommodation
    4:00pm    -    arrive at the Meininger City Hostel to check in for an overnight stay in Cologne
    6:30pm    -    group dinner at the hostel
        -    evening at leisure to stroll along the banks or the medieval areas of the city


Performing at Vimy Ridge. One of the most moving days of the tour.

    7:00am    -    continental breakfast at your accommodation
    8:00am    -    check out, coach loading and travel through Flanders to Vimy with a stop enroute to purchase lunch
    1:45pm    -    estimated time of arrival in Vimy
    2:00pm    -    begin your visit with the guided tour of the tunnels and trenches
    2:50pm    -    board your coach from the parking area and continue out to the Memorial Site
-    the Vimy Ridge Memorial stands on Hill 145, overlooking the Canadian battlefield of 1917, at one of the points of the fiercest fighting - inscribed on the ramparts of the Memorial are the names of 11,285 Canadian soldiers who were posted "missing or presumed dead" in France
-    NOTE:  this is considered a sacred Memorial Site ~ visitors are asked to refrain from eating, drinking or smoking while on site - group will have to depart the Memorial Site
        -     opportunity to sing a few selections
    4:00pm    -    board coach and depart for Bruay-la-Buissiere
    4:30pm    -    a stop will be made at the grave site of Adam Black a WWI veteran who was formerly a member of the Knox Presbyterian Church
    5:00pm    -    board coach and continue journey to Kortrijk, Belgium
    6:00pm    -    arrive at the Vlaamse Jeugdherbergen Hostel - Groeninghe and check in for overnight accommodation
    7:00pm    -    group dinner on site this evening
        -    evening at leisure - Kortrijk is situated in the Belgian Province of West Flanders on the River Leie, Kortrijk dates from Roman times and is encircled by the remnants of ancient walls - the 2 medieval towers are the only remaining witnesses of the former city fortifications, which were destroyed by Louis XIV of France in 1684 - also, not to be missed is the "Beguinage," one of the most beautiful in Flanders


The choir in front of the golden gate at the Palace of Versailles.

Our accompanist, Graham Adams, measuring the height of the Eiffel Tower before we go up to the top the next day.

Back down from the Eiffel Tower at dusk.

    7:30am    -    continental breakfast at your accommodation
    8:00am    -    check out, followed with loading and departure for Versailles
    12:30pm    -    arrive in the town of Versailles with time to wander the town and shop and purchase an early lunch prior to Chateau entry
    1:45pm    -    proceed to the main gate down the courtyard, on the parking place to meet your guide
-    started as a modest hunting lodge in 1668, this was at one time the largest palace in Europe, housing 20,000 people at a time - highlights of the tour will
-     include visits to the State Apartments, the Salon d'Apollon, the Salon de Geurre and the Hall of Mirrors
    3:30pm    -    meet your coach and continue to your accommodation
    5:00pm    -    arrive at Hotel Forest Hill la Villatte and check in for 2 nights accommodation
    6:15pm    -    board coach and depart for central Paris
    7:00pm    -    group dinner at the Hippopotamus George V (located off the Champs-Elysees)
    8:15pm    -    transfer by coach to the entrance of the Eiffel Tower
    9:00pm    -    upon arrival, ascend to the 3rd floor for a spectacular view of the "City of Light" from one of the most famous landmarks in the world and considered an architectural marvel for its time
    10:15pm    -    conclude your visit and return to your accommodation    
    10:45pm    -    arrive back at the hotel

Day 10 - THURSDAY JULY 23 - PARIS    B/D

Sight seeing in Paris.

No! Not an opera house, but rather, a shopping mall!

Our last night on tour, cruising the River Seine.

Across from our hotel on the final evening.

    7:30am    -    continental breakfast at your hotel to start the day
    8:30am    -    board coach and depart the Latin Quarter/Luxembourg Gardens where you will meet your guide at the bus parking area at the back of the gardens
    9:30am    -    begin your guided walking tour - there are no modern buildings here or modern architecture, you will find small windy streets, lots of tourists, historical buildings and a thousand or more little restaurants and bistros to choose from. Since The Latin Quarter has been dominated by the University of Paris, La Sorbonne, it has acquired its name from the early Latin-speaking students. Highlights of this area are the Institut du Monde Arabe, Musée du Moyen Age (Middle Ages) or also called the Musée de Cluny, the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in the Jardin des Plantes,  the Le Panthéon and the churches of St-Séverin and St. Julien-le-Pauvre.   
    11:00am    -    conclude your tour at Notre Dame Basilica - "Our Lady of Paris" is a beautiful cathedral on the the Île de la Cité in Paris, Notre Dame is an important example of French Gothic architecture, sculpture and stained glass, and is the most popular monument in Paris and in all of France, beating even the Eiffel Tower with 13 million visitors each year
        -    walk or transfer per coach (pending weather conditions) as a group to the Louvre
        -    free time to purchase lunch in the area
    1:15pm    -    group to meet at the Louvre Museum (enter through the Passage Richelieu between place du Palais-Royal and cour Napoleon)
    1:30pm    -    enjoy guided visit of the Louvre Museum ~ one of the largest museums in the world, and possibly the most famous of them all is the Louvre.  Situated in the heart of Paris, this palace is both from an architectural point of view as from an arts perspective, one of the must see sights in Paris.  It displays about 300,000 works of art, among them some world-famous like Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Winged Victory.  The glass pyramid entrance to the museum is a fine combination of modern and historic architecture, allowing sunlight to come in on the ground floor
    3:00pm    -    tour concludes, remainder of your afternoon is free to shop and explore the area of Place de l'Opera and some of the Grands Boulevards with their famous department stores such as the Galleries Lafayette and Le Printemps or transfer to the Champs Elysees, Paris' most famous thoroughfare, lined with cafes, cinemas and shops - for those that don't mind climbing all of the stairs, climb to the top of the Arc du Triomphe for one of the best views of Paris, overlooking the Place de l'Etoile                            
    4:15pm    -    meet coach at designated location and transfer to your dinner
    4:45pm    -    enjoy your final farewell dinner at Chez Clement - Marbeuf
    6:00pm    -    transfer by coach to Port de la Bourdonnais (foot of the Eiffel Tower)
    6:30pm    -    arrive at the Bateaux Parisiens embarkation point for group check in
    7:00pm    -    scheduled 1 hour narrated cruise on the River Seine
    8:00pm    -    cruise docking, board coach to transfer to your hotel
    8:30pm    -    arrive for overnight accommodation and last minute packing!

Day 11 - FRIDAY JULY 24 - HOME to CANADA    B/L

Happy to be going home!

    6:00am    -    pick up packed breakfast at your hotel     followed by check out and coach loading
    6:30am    -    board coach and depart for Charles de Gaulle Airport - Aerogare 2 - Terminal A (we recommend international groups to check in at least 3 hours prior to scheduled departure time for international flights)
    7:30am    -    check in with Air Canada and receive boarding cards
        -    say good bye to your Tour Manager - Tracey
    10:30am    -    flight via Air Canada flight # 881 to Toronto Pearson International Airport (flying time: 7hr 45 min)
    12:15pm    -    local arrival at Pearson International Airport - Terminal 1 to collect luggage, clear customs and meet your hired coach  (set watches to local time)
    1:30pm    -    meet your 47 passenger coach from Cherrey Bus lines for loading and depart Toronto for St. Thomas
    4:00pm    -    estimated time of arrival at the Elgin Mall Parking Lot, 417 Wellington Street, St. Thomas, ON - WELCOME HOME!