Singing Takes Italy!

Immediately on the heels of our successful run of DAPHNIS ET CHLOE in Indy, about 80 from Indy boarded overnight flights to Rome, where we joined over 100 other travelers for a week of sightseeing, rehearsing and performing. Our Festival Chorus numbered 110, and with family members and other non-singing travelers, our group was over 200…requiring four tour busses! In addition to our group from Indy, we welcomed participants from Alabama, Wisconsin, California and Oklahoma, including middle/high schoolers, adults and retirees.

Rome has magnificent sights to see on every block, and our group did an admirable job of hitting the major highlights: Coliseum, Forum, Pantheon (all despite a downpour of historic proportions!), plus the Vatican, St Peter's Square, Basilica, Vatican Museum and Sistene Chapel. Each day was filled with stunning art, architecture, culture and history.

Festival Chorus members at our first rehearsal surprise me with a chorus of the birthday song, sung in flawless Italian!


On Tuesday, we had the amazing honor of singing for Mass at St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. We performed the first movement of Vivaldi's Gloria (with 5 performers from our high school string orchestra accompanying…it's very rare that the Vatican officials permit instrumental accompaniment other than organ), Bruckner's Locus Iste, Paul Mealor's moving Ubi Caritas and the Knut Nystedt Laudate Dominum. Standing before the choir and viewing the massive nave while conducting was an awe-inspiring experience!

Aqueduct and Roman Pines near the hotel

Entrance to the Vatican Museums

Pinecone Sculpture from Constantinian Basilica

Map Gallery in Vatican Museums


Our festival performance took place Wednesday night at the Basilica Minerva, across the street from the Pantheon. As we performed, we had sculptures from Micheangelo and Bernini peering over our shoulders. The performance itself was stunning, with all performers (about 135 including members of the orchestra) giving their very best for a memorable and thrilling Vivaldi Gloria. Our audience was huge, and the Basilica monks had to haul out every last chair to provide extra seating. Even so, there were numerous people standing for our performance. It was most meaningful to perform the music of one of Italy's greatest masters, Antonio Vivaldi, in such an inspiring and historic settings