Story and Photos by Ben Corda
Shortly after finals week [Spring 2016], 41 students, nine alumni, five faculty members and two spouses traveled to Ireland, Wales and England as part of Chorale Tour under the direction of professor Craig Zamer.
For some students like Dexter Lowe, a junior Vocal Music Education major, this was a once in a lifetime experience. At the final rehearsal before leaving, Lowe said, “I’m really excited, I can’t wait to see and sing in all the cathedrals and travel with my best friends. I’m a little anxious, but I’m excited to see where it takes us.”
After arriving back in the U.S., Lowe expressed her thoughts on the trip. “The trip shifted my perspective in many ways. It truly was an experience.”
“Music is so universal and it has such deep roots that go beyond our towns in the United States. Seeing that children all over the world use music to learn and develop only gave me a deeper appreciation and more motivation to chase my dreams in music.”
While on tour, the Tech Chorale sang with several other choirs including the Carrigaline Choir, Llandaff Cathedral Choral Society, Choristers of Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral and Cambridge Queen’s College Choir.
“The type of experiential learning that occurs on these kinds of trips are invaluable,” Craig Zamer said. “The opportunity to sing the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ in the place where it was first performed, cannot be easily duplicated. It builds connections to the things they have studied and makes a greater impact. Standing at the port where the Titanic departed for the first and last time, performing in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, physically seeing the Queen of England make her way to Parliament, are just few of those unique experiences.”
In Dublin, Ireland, the group was scheduled to have a master class with a member of Anúna. Much to their surprise, Michael McGlynn, the founder of Anúna and the composer of one of the chorale’s performance pieces, arrived to teach the class.
“It is one thing to study a piece of music, rehearse a piece of music and perform a piece of music,” commented Zamer. “It is a completely new experience to have the person who wrote the piece of music talk with you, work with you, and provide insight into their thoughts on musicianship, performing and their own ideas about their composition.”
DeAnna Etchison, a newly graduated music performance and music business alumna, has had the opportunity to travel twice internationally with the Tech Chorale. For Etchison the most special part of the trip was singing at the farewell dinner.