Youth for Understanding
Chorale Alumni

Making Memories Thru Music


A 90 minute oral history of the Chorale by Robert Pratt:
Click here.  (Warning, this could take a while to download!)

Please click here for a very nice thank you letter from Pat Hoobler Schock.

A letter home from Denmark 1969                    Day (Zanardelli) Best 



PAR  AVION                                                                                                                                       DANMARK


Dear Family,

            I have a little extra time, so I decided to write a note and tell you about yesterday (4th of July).  We gave 2 concerts.  The first one was at the "Danish American Festival" at Rebild.   I have several slides of it.   2 of Hubert Humphrey far off, and 2 close up.  I talked to HHH and shook his hand, and he's nice, but what else can I say?  He gave a nice speech about education & understanding and an American Air Force band played.  We sang some spirituals & the "Star Spangled Banner" & " America"

            They had two flagpoles and they raised both the Danish and U.S. flag.   It was so cool to see it billowing in the breeze.  I almost cried. The weather was gorgeous!  There were lots of sailors & soldiers from both Denmark and the States.  It was cool.   That was in the afternoon.  At night we sang in a big park in front of the HHH Hotel (I'm not kidding) that Humphrey stayed in---we stayed in the hotel next door---then last night we had to move to a youth hostel.  We had a party at the hotel with a jazz band, & 4 people from Y.F.U Chorale sat in with the band.  We ended up making up our own band.  Rich & Andrew on the piano, Ann Girten on saxophone, and Dave Dudt on drums. It was GREAT!  It was really great.  Jackie Washington sang "Swing Low Sweet Chariot", and a lot of others, and I sang back up.   As it turned out, Mr. Pratt & Hubert Humphrey were in the back of the room & heard her (side bar: we thought we were so busted and expected to be ordered to our rooms, but...)  Mr. Pratt was so proud of her that he came up and hugged her right there.  It was beautiful.

            We'll be going back to Copenhagen in 1 more day (the schedule got changed & we stay in Copenhagen, but 1 week in Copenhagen, 1 week up in Northern Denmark (we're here in the north now), then back to Copenhagen again for another week.  Then Finland!   I've got to go now (please excuse handwriting).      

Love,  Day


Note from the Archives of Michigan:  They will accept materials through Dec. 31, 2008.  (Yes, they can be mailed -- and duplications will be returned!)

Becky Obenauf Hill ('58, '59, '60)

The Archives of Michigan would like to include the Michigan/Youth For Understanding Chorales’ history and experiences in their collections.  Items such as photographs, travel itineraries, personal letters, news articles, diaries, official correspondence, promotional brochures, etc. are desired.  The Archives cannot accept objects such as souvenirs or luggage.

To avoid duplication, the Archives would like one scrapbook and/or collection of items for each year that the Chorales represented Michigan on their tours abroad. 

Rebecca (Obenauf) Hill, a member of the 1958, 1959, & 1960 Chorales, has volunteered to coordinate this project with the Archives of Michigan.  If you are planning on attending the 2008 Chorale reunion and would like to donate materials, please contact Rebecca at:

P.O.Box 873
Sour Lake, TX 77659
(409) 287-2390

If you would like to speak with an Archives representative, please contact:

Helen V. Taylor, Archivist
Archives of Michigan 702 W. Kalamazoo Lansing, Michigan 48908
(517) 373-1452


New from Jim Arneff:  Click here for a great letter describing the Chorale's first trip to South America!

From Jim Arneff ('60 + chaperoned '66):

It is hard to believe that it has been 50 years since the Chorale started. As you may know, Rachel Andersen was almost like a Grandmother to me. Working in the HQ staff for several years and starting YFU in this part of the US was an important part of my life. It is so difficult for me to believe that most of the early people who worked with YFU are either in their 80ties or are now deceased. The Chorale was the engine which helped expand YFU all over Europe and South America. As you may know, the trip to South America in 1960 was made at the request of the US State Department. The Chorale was scheduled to go to Europe and in September the State Department called her to Washington and asked her to take the Chorale to South America. They helped her arrange a trip around South America to make contacts. She did this and then in November she announced that we were not going to Europe, but rather we were going to South America. What an adventure and great life we all had in the early 60ties.

The State Department was not only involved in the Chorale but they asked Rachel Andersen to take over the administration of the first exchange students to come to Michigan the very first year in 1952 when the Rotary Clubs did not have the organization to properly administer the program. She was the Executive Director of the Ann Arbor-Washtenaw Council of Churches and went to the Michigan Council of Churches to be the statewide sponsor. They agreed as long as the Ann Arbor Washtenaw Council would take administrative responsibility for the program.

Then, they were trying to decide what to call the program. It was her husband, Arvid, who came up with the idea to call it "Youth For Understanding". You may not know that he was from Denmark. All of the early development of YFU is very interesting.

The idea of how they developed a chorale in the first place is a good story. I am sure many people may know about that and I am not sure what Mrs. Andresen wrote. I think she finished her book but I have never seen it. I will try to find it. 


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