University of Wisconsin-Superior
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P.O. Box 2000
Superior, WI 54880
News and Events Details
By Elizabeth Reichert
University Relations student writer
To sing in the Vatican and hope for a glimpse of the pope is a rare opportunity, but members of the University of Wisconsin-Superior Acappella Choir and Chamber Choir will have that experience in January.
About 60 students who perform with the choirs will travel through Italy from January 11 to 19. Their tour includes performances and cultural visits in Rome, Siena, Montecatini, Assisi, Florence, and Tuscany.
UW-Superior voice faculty Dr. Vicki Fingalson and Dr. Jeffrey Madison along with UW-Superior graduate and organist Rachel Kresha will lend their talents to the tour, particularly to sections of Guiseppie Verdi's famed "Requiem."
One of music's wonders
Kylie Cochran of Superior, a junior majoring in Choral Music Education and Vocal Performance, said she's really excited about performing excerpts from the "Requiem."
"Dr. Faerber compares it to the Seven Wonders of the World," she said. "It's one of the great musical pieces."
All the pieces in the choir's tour repertoire are sacred music because all performances will take place in cathedrals. The choirs have prepared multiple pieces so they can sing different songs at the various locations.
More demanding rehearsals
Choir members have been talking about the tour for 14 months and have been preparing musically for the past three. Cochran said practices have been different than usual this semester.
"For our first concert, we usually have some easier pieces to build the choral sound, but with an international tour, we've been working on hard pieces from the get-go," she said. "We've had to do a lot of outside learning and outside listening to speed up the learning process."
Tobi Taylor of Duluth, a senior majoring in math education, agreed that the choir members have had to learn and memorize a lot of music.
A stronger choir
Aaron Wainman of Blaine, Minn., a senior majoring in vocal performance, added that this tour positively impacts the choir.
"It definitely makes us stronger as a choir," he said. "It gives us something to strive for before going."
Students and faculty are excited for various aspects of the tour.
Wainman said he's excited to spend a week getting to know and bonding with the people in the choir.
"I enjoy going to choir every day," he said. "Most of my social network is in choir."
Performing in cathedrals
Faerber said he looks forward to seeing students' reactions as they visit historic places and to making music with them in the cathedrals. Cochran also is excited about performing in the cathedrals, particularly St. Peter's Basilica.
"It's probably one of the greatest honors for a choir to audition and be able to perform at a mass in St. Peter's Basilica," she said. St. Peter's Basilica, located in the Vatican in Rome,is the burial site of Saint Peter and is one of the holiest sites in the Catholic faith.
The students not only will have the opportunity to sing in famous cathedrals but also will learn about the Italian culture and themselves.
Learning about culture and themselves
"They experience first-hand another culture, another language, another people. They see things they would never see otherwise," Faerber said. "They begin to understand the awesomeness of the world and the largeness of the world."
Taylor hopes the tour experience will affect the choir members as individuals. "You get to grow as a world citizen and understand the world out there," she said. "We pick up such diverse experiences and are able to bring it back and share with our classmates."
Wainman agreed. "It's a chance to experience something outside of your own culture, your own understanding," he said. "It can really cause a person to grow."
The choral tour to Italy is just the latest in the Music Department's efforts to take students abroad every few years. Past international trips include a choral trip to Austria and Slovakia in 2002; a band, jazz band, orchestra and chorus tour in Brazil in 2005; a choral and chamber orchestra trip to China in 2008; and a band tour to Costa Rica in 2010.
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