Vienna Boys Choir to be first act of Dogwood Festival

Published 9:22 am Thursday, March 7, 2019

DOWAGIAC — The Dogwood Fine Arts Festival has hosted many acts in the last couple of decades — country acts, authors, storytellers, dancers and more.

At 7 p.m. on Monday, March 11 at the Dowagiac Performing Arts Center, Dogwood will feature what is perhaps its most unique act since the festival’s inception: the Vienna Boys Choir.

The touring group of young men will be an early first act of the May festival, and Jim Benedix, director of Dogwood Fine Arts, believes the group is of prestige not yet seen in Dowagiac.

“We’re really excited about the choir,” Benedix said. “For our festival, it’s a big event.”

The Dogwood Fine Arts Festival is a diverse, two-week-long event that features a variety of avenues of fine art. Benedix looked into the possibility of having the VBC as an act in the festival and knew they would be a good fit, even if they were a couple of months ahead of the rest of the festival.

“We came across the choir in a talent search for the festival. They happened to be available. It was kind of dumb luck that we came across them,” Benedix said.

As unique as the choir will be for the festival, it will also be an exceptional experience for the whole of the Dowagiac community, according to Benedix.

“It’s not often a town like Dowagiac is getting talent of this caliber,” he said. “This offers talent to Dowagiac most small communities don’t have.”

The Vienna Boys Choir has a far-reaching history, beginning in 1296 in Vienna’s Imperial Chapel, and officially as an entity in 1498. Although the choir primarily sang only in the Viennese Chapel until the 20th Century, they were still well-known due to Vienna’s broadly rich musical culture. In 1924, the choir was established as a private organization and has since traveled the world to perform. Between the 100 choristers, the Vienna Boys Choir performs up to 300 concerts a year.

For Benedix, having the VBC in Dowagiac is not just adding an interesting mix into the Dogwood Festival, but it’s a privileged opportunity to experience a centuries-old piece of history.

“I hope people take advantage of them being here,” Benedix said. “It’s the first time we’ll have a choir of this caliber.”

So far, the VBC is attracting a variety of spectators. Ticket sales have reached several areas of Michigan and beyond as far as Chicago. To Benedix, the scope of the ticket sales is a testament not only to the privilege of the event but also to the opportunity to showcase Dowagiac.

“This concert is about what they bring to us,” Benedix said. “But it’s not just a local draw. It will draw an interest from a wide variety of people. Hopefully, (visitors) will take time to tour before the concert starts.”

For more information about the Vienna Boys Choir concert and how to purchase tickets, or about the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival in May, readers can visit