Two local residents who are part of the St. Joseph’s College Choirs will be traveling to Italy and Vatican City in November to perform.
Erich Fischer of Middlebury and Gayle Arend of Wolcottville are among the concert choir and chamber singers who will be traveling to Italy for a series of performances in major venues, including Masses in Florence, Siena, Rome and Pompeii. The highlight of their tour will be a performance at St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest Christian church in the world. The choirs will be singing a large share of music independently, plus they will sing with the Resurrection Choir from the St. John Cantius Church in Chicago.
Their performance at St. Peter’s is part of the closing weekend celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Cappella Giulia, one of the Basilica’s two chapel choirs. Notable choirs from around the world were invited to sing, either in concert or Mass, at the Basilica.
“Nothing shows what your choir is made of more than a performance tour,” SJC Director of Choirs Kelly Ford said. “This tour will be as demanding as any I have taken groups on in the past. Imagine getting off a plane after nearly 12 hours of flights, layovers, and bus rides before jumping right into an hour of Mozart. There won’t be any time for jet lag.”
Ford sees the tour as the ideal mix of education, culture, and real world experience championed by the SJC Core Program.
“SJC Choir students get to perform music in an authentic context,” Ford said. “Being able to sing sacred choral music in the actual churches it was written for — not just as a concert, but often within the Mass — provides a connection between faith and intelligence that is the hallmark of learning at SJC. Students come back from international trips with a greater sense of global awareness, and Rome is a perfect blend of history, art, architecture, music, food, language, and culture that changes students forever. Finding your place in the world is an important part of the Core curriculum at SJC, and what better way to do that than through a trip like this?”
Preparing for it has been an immense undertaking, but Ford hopes the success of the tour will inspire similar events in the future. Performing on such a large stage can be daunting, Ford said, but he knows his students will always be prepared.
To keep people updated on their performances and travels, several members of the tour will share their experiences and photos through Facebook (facebook.com/SaintJosephsCollege) and Twitter (@SJC_Pumas). Brief biographies of the contributors will be posted on Facebook and Twitter in the weeks leading up to the tour, which spans Nov. 11-19.