New Castle News

Closer Look

November 23, 2012

Three local men sing in Europe

NEW CASTLE — Capturing a single defining moment of a two-week European singing tour is a tough call for Tim Womer.

But the Edinburg resident can come close.

One of Womer’s most memorable experiences was singing “Amazing Grace” a cappella at a cathedral in Innsbruck, Austria with the Teutonia Maennerchor and Damenchor of Pittsburgh who made the recent visit.

“The sun was streaming through the window and it was a breathtaking moment,” Womer described.

Also taking part in the group’s trip that entailed singing in five countries were John McCormick and Wilhelm “Bill” Both. All three perform with the Eintracht Singing Society of New Castle.

Womer, McCormick and Both were part of the area contingent to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Pittsburgh Maennenchor group. There were at least six scheduled concerts and some unexpected performances that took place everywhere from churches to small pubs.

Although Womer, who sings bass, has traveled extensively in Europe for business, this was the first time performing there. Those other trips allowed very little time for touring, so finally getting to see the Dolomite Mountains in northern Italy was a thrill.

For McCormick, the entire experience included a long list of firsts.

“The whole thing was amazing,” he enthused. “Everyone is so nice and history is preserved there because it is appreciated.”

He, too, carries memories from some singular events such as stopping at a cathedral and singing impromptu.

“The sound carries through and it gives you such a good feeling. People enjoyed it.”

Womer said the camaraderie among the group — some who are German natives — was fantastic.

“It’s fun traveling with people who have the same interests,” he said.

Both derive tremendous joy in singing.

A Wilmington High School graduate, Womer started singing with church choirs at 14 and has been doing so ever since. He has also performed with barbershop groups.

McCormick, a Hickory Township resident, has been singing in groups since he was about 12 when he earned a spot with the former Camerata Boys Choir of Austintown.

Womer and McCormick found the European concert tour to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The main performances were in Mannheim, Germany where a Teutonia group from Germany and a Welsh choir also sang.

“It doesn’t get much better than that,” McCormick pointed out.

While in Mannheim, part of the entourage discovered a Steelers bar.

The group also spent time and sang in Austria, Liechtenstein, Italy and Switzerland.

Most all the songs, which covered a wide range — beer hall tunes, story songs and hymns — were sung in German.

There was time for sightseeing, too.

While walking through a beer tent in Stuttgart, Germany, Womer heard his name being called out in German. He turned around and discovered it was coming from a German friend he had met through his line of work.

Switzerland held particular fascination for McCormick, who recalled that while getting off a bus at one stop, there was a serenade by traditional Althorn singers.

“That doesn’t happen every day that you’re entertained by Swiss yodelers,” he said. “From start to finish, I never had a bad moment.”

He plans on returning to Europe. Soon.

(Email: lhudson@ncnewsonline.com)

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