Singing for a prep-level community music school in Italy was an experience five members of Cantilena won’t soon forget.
The Conservatory’s all-women’s classical ensemble recently enjoyed the unique opportunity to sing at the Academy of Music in Florence and tour the country as well. A jam-packed itinerary included such memorable experiences as a stay in a quaint Tuscan villa, a visit to the historic city of San Gimignano, sightseeing in Pisa and a guided tour of Assisi.
Attending mass at various Italian churches, listening to the monks singing and performing there themselves was also a trip highlight.
“The music school concert was probably the most fun of all the singing engagements we had,” said Susan Nace, the group’s director. “We gave a full concert there. The kids were engaged and enthusiastic,” she added, noting that the Italian music students did warm-up vocal exercises with Cantilena and, after the concert, sang a song together. Additionally, they treated the Harker contingency to a tour of the school, even inviting them to sit in on a couple of lessons.
Another amazing experience, noted Nace, was visiting the Sant’ Antimo monastery, where they experienced morning prayers and mass, all done in a Gregorian chant.
“It was transcendent … We sang part of our program for the brothers and priests there and then were taken on a special tour of the French Romanesque Church – including the ambulatory and the crypt – which most visitors do not get to see,” Nace recalled.
By the time the Harker singers had departed Florence for their return flight back home, they knew they had been part of an unforgettable singing adventure.