Dozens of college kids on spring break in another country: is it chaos? No, it’s the Knox College Choir.
The Choir does a trip every spring break and this year they went to Spain.
The trip was facilitated on the Spain end by Jorge Praz who helps organize the trip and he had a couple of huge surprises for the Choir when they arrived in Barcelona. He arranged for them the opportunity to sing in a Cathedral that had just become a Basilica and to sing on National TV.
“We sang on Spanish National TV in front of 13 million people,” said sophomore Shane Donegan.
“That was the polled audience for the timeslot,” said senior Philippe Moore.
The newscaster for the show did not speak English and had prepared what he was going to say before hand.
“[He said] Now is the time for concentration,” said sophomore Mike Oelkers, “That was hilarious.”
Another highlight of the trip was singing in the Cathedral.
“We got to sing in a Cathedral on Easter,” said Oelkers.
“You feel like you’re an angel,” said sophomore Sarah Colangelo.
They also got a very special momento from the event. The priest of the cathedral had received a medal from the Vatican to commemorate it becoming a basilica.
“The Pope was embossed on one side and the Pope’s cathedral on the other side,” said Oelkers. “He gave it to us because it was something important to him.”
The choir had several adventures while they were there. They also sang at Lloret de Mar and Castillo d’lamporia.
“We’ve sung there the past couple of times. I think this is the third time,” said senior Elena Lahti. “They just love us there.”
They also learned a new dance while they were there.
“They taught us the Sardana,” said Oelkers. “I was holding hands with Laura Lane dancing the Sardana on top of a mountain.”
They were also able to sing in a Monastery at the top of Montserrat.
“This time the entire choir got to go up to the top of the mountain and explore,” said Lahti.
When they were on the mountain they also found a cave.
“The cave was small and it was really reverberant and we sang songs and made noise,” said Moore.
The Choir also found out that in general people were just really friendly.
“They are so big on face kissing in Spain,” said Colangelo. “People you hardly know just want to kiss your face and say you’re beautiful.”
Some of the choir members mentioned that it felt like they were representing the United States to Spain just as they were learning about Spanish culture while there.
“A lot of us were really nervous,” said Colangelo, “I think a lot of us were really aware of representing our country.”
At the same time, song seemed to be a uniting force.
“When you sing it doesn’t matter what your politics are,” said Colangelo.
“When we perform we sing in so many different languages that our nationalities don’t matter anyways,” said Oelkers.
The Choir also sang the flag song.
“We made an effort to connect with them,” said Colangelo, “We sang their song in their language.”
They did not just connect with the people in Spain. The choir also got the chance to connect more with each other.
“There were people in that group that I had never really talked to before we went on tour,” said Oelkers.
“It was really nice to get to know everyone. I got to know the sophomore class and the freshman class better,” said Lahti.
While they were there, someone on the trip was also filming for parts of the time and asking them about what they thought of the trip.
“I felt like I was on the Real World,” said Donegan.
This is a special opportunity for the choir. They fundraise all year to get the money to be able to do so.
“We only do Spain every other year or every couple of years and then the tours are more local so that we can afford to do this,” said Lahti, “The choir works extremely hard to fundraise.”
The weeks leading up to the trip are also incredibly involved. Normally choir practices for a few hours a week.
“We have big, extra, three hour rehearsals before we go — a number of them,” said Colangelo.