By Laura Humble – Staff Writer
This past CentreTerm, the Centre Singers took a trip to Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain, to tour the city and showcase their talent.
“I chose [Barcelona] based on my desire to see the works of Velasquez, Goya, and Picasso in person,” H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Music and the group’s leader, Dr. Barbara Hall, said. “Also, I knew of the work of the architect, Antoni Guadi, and wanted to do some study on him. Never did I dream that we would get to perform in his masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia.”
The performance in the Sagrada Familia, a Catholic basilica, seemed to be the highlight for many of the performers as well.
“My favorite part [of the trip] was getting to see and do so many things that, had I not been on a trip with Centre, I never would have been able to do,” sophomore Emily Morrell said. “Singing in La Sagrada Familia is not something the average college student, or person in general, gets to do, and we did. It was phenomenal.”
The small moments were just as memorable, however.
“For me, the most exciting aspect of the tour was getting to combine our choir with several community choirs in both Girona and Alagon for performances,” senior Ben Tudor said.
“In Alagon, the director asked us during dress rehearsal just an hour before the performance if we could learn a gospel piece that his choir had prepared. We might not have known all the words, but it was truly an exciting experience for everyone on stage.”
Despite unexpected curveballs, the choir still had a chance to relax while in Spain. “We took some pretty awesome day trips, but my favorite was Toledo,” Tudor said. “We went on our last full day in Spain, which was a really great way to end the tour. We had given our last concert the night before, so we were able to relax and walk around the town on what turned out to be a beautiful afternoon.”
While Tudor relished his relaxing experience, Morrell recounted a slightly more distressing one.
“One night some of my friends and [I] went out exploring the city of Zaragozza and got ridiculously lost,” she said. “After a few moments of panic, we realized that getting lost in a beautiful Spanish city with a group of wonderful friends maybe isn’t so bad after all.”
Dr. Hall, along with most of the group, had never been to Spain before. “This was my first trip. Only one student in the class had been to Spain and that was for a short visit over from Strasbourg,” she said.
That student was Tudor, who had spent a few days in Barcelona during his spring break while studying abroad in Strasbourg in 2012.
“I would absolutely return to Barcelona if given the chance,” Tudor said. Even though the students enjoyed their trip, their tour wasn’t all fun and games.
“We’ve been preparing [our] repertoire since the beginning of the fall term, which is when this group of 26 first came together,” Tudor said. “Until CentreTerm, we met three times per week to rehearse, and gave only two concerts during the fall.”
The preparation amped up during the weeks before the tour began in January.
“Our ‘class’ was at least six hours of rehearsal a day, which sometimes included presentations on pieces of art we were going to see in Spain or pieces of music we were going to be performing,” Morrell said.
Dr. Hall set high standards, which paid off with high rewards.
“We learned 23 pieces in English, Latin, and Spanish, and the group performed beautifully!” she said.