IF YOU GO

What: Soli Deo Gloria concert/p>

When: 7 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: St. Columba Catholic Church, 1830 E. Second Ave., Durango, Colo.

Tickets: 15 for adults. $6 for children and students. Available at DurangoChoralSociety.org, by phone at 1-800-838-3006, and at the door.

DURANGO, Colo. — Because her grandparents emigrated to the U.S. from Croatian shortly after World War I, Linda Mack Berven grew up in a home where Croatian was spoken alongside English.

But she has never visited the European country. This summer, Mack Berven will visit her grandparent's homeland for the first time.

Durango Choral Society poses for a picture at St. Columba Catholic Church.
Durango Choral Society poses for a picture at St. Columba Catholic Church. (Paul Boyer/Courtesy photo)

And she will not be going alone. Mack Berven, the artistic director of the Durango Choral Society, will be traveling with 30 other choral society members. The group will be singing at cathedrals in Croatia and Austria.

"There are some magnificent cathedrals there," Mack Berven said.

The choral society is hosting a concert this weekend to give Four Corners area residents a chance to listen to a sampling of the songs that will be performed in Europe.

The theme for the concert is Soli Deo Gloria, which in Latin means "to the glory of God alone." The theme was chosen to reflect the nature of the music. Many of the compositions were written in Latin by French composers, including Gabriel Fauré's "Requiem" — a Mass for the dead. Fauré wrote the song after losing his parents in a span of two years.

The songs that will be performed this weekend are compositions the choral society will perform while in Austria, accompanied by a choir from Hungary.

The choral society received invitations to perform in Europe. The first invitation came from professor Janos Czifra, the music director of the Salzburg Cathedral. The choral society was invited to perform Zoltan Kodály's "Missa Brevis," as a joint project with the Salzburg Cathedral Choir.

The group was later invited to extend its trip by adding a concert at the Zagreb Cathedral in Croatia.

While in Croatia, Mack Berven will conduct the Croatian Chamber Orchestra, along with the Croatian choir Odak Cappella. The concert will feature the Durango Choral Society singing in Croatian and English.

Armed with various recordings and an online pronunciation guide, the choral society worked hard to learn the Croatian songs. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Capella worked to learn American songs.

"We want to get it right so that we can honor the culture we are visiting," Mack Berven said.

Hannah Grover can be reached at hgrover@daily-times.com; 505-564-4652. Follow her on Twitter @hmgrover