Berkshire Choral International

Mountain Vistas, Southern Charm

Mozart Great Mass in C minor
Mozart Opera Choruses

June 4-11, 2017
Concert: June 10, First Baptist Church of Asheville
Conductor: Erin Freeman

Known for its vibrant arts scene, mountain vistas, culinary experiences, and southern charm and hospitality, Asheville, North Carolina, is a perfect setting for a singing week! Choristers will sleep, dine, and rehearse on the in-town campus of the University of North Carolina-Asheville in a park-like setting just minutes from downtown.

Described as "edgy and artsy," Asheville mixes its classic architecture (Art Deco, Beaux Arts and Neoclassical) and its Appalachian heritage. Boasting more than 30 art galleries and a plethora of museums, Asheville is also home to the Biltmore House and the Basilica of St. Lawrence and is the boyhood home of novelist Thomas Wolfe (Look Homeward, Angel).


Choristers have most afternoons free to take advantage of the many local sights and sounds.

George Vanderbilt conceived the idea of the 250-room Biltmore House in 1895. Architect Richard Morris Hunt designed the mountain retreat in the manner of a French Renaissance castle. Frederick Law Olmsted designed the original 125,000 acres, creating a a landscaping masterpiece including forest, formal gardens, and working farm. The estate now includes an inn, a winery, and an exhibit hall featuring the Vanderbilt family.

The Basilica of St. Lawrence might be said to owe its existence to the Biltmore House. Spanish architect Rafael Gustavino wanted to build a larger Catholic church for Asheville and turned to his fellow architect Richard Sharp Smith, who also worked on Bilmore House. Gustavino had already designed the U.S. Supreme Court building, the Boston Public Library, Grand Central Terminal, Grant's Tomb, Carnegie Hall and the American Museum of Natural History. Work on the Basilica began in 1905 and was completed in 1909. Gustavino died before its completion and is buried in the crypt of the Spanish Baroque Revival masterpiece.

The 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway goes through Asheville and offers turn upon turn of beautiful vistas, wildflowers, birds, and hiking trails. Part of the National Park system, the Blue Ridge Parkway goes from Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Museums for Every Taste

Ever wanted to go to a pinball museum? Well, you can, because the Asheville Pinball Museum is waiting for you with more than 30 machines made from 1960 to 2003. Perhaps the Asheville Mystery Museum is more your style if you like underground history. Remember the Moog synthesizer revolution? Then visit the Bob Moog Foundation Minimoogseum, which contains a small collection of memorabilia of the electronic music pioneer. Wheels Through Time in Maggie Valley  houses a collection of more than 300 rare and historic classic motorcycles. If you prefer vehicles with four wheels, there's the Estes-Winn Antique Car Museum, in North Asheville, home to rare and vintage automobiles, horse-drawn carriages, and an antique fire engine.

The Asheville Art Museum maintains collections of 20th and 21st century American art, concentrating on works of significance to Western North Carolina’s cultural heritage including Studio Craft, Black Mountain College and Cherokee artists.  

River Arts District

RAD, as the River Arts District is known, is a collection of galleries and working studios along the French Broad River in revamped industrial buildings. Here more than 200 artisans in basketry, fiber arts, clay and ceramic, glass and metal, jewelry, mixed media, and photography create and display their creations. Cafes and restaurants also abound for the strollers who seek refreshment between watching the potter at her wheel or the painter at his canvas.