Everywhere they went, music happened.
For 11 days at the end of the last school year, the Valley View High School’s Voices of the Valley choir traveled to Italy to perform. The trip began with “A Gift of Song for Gubbio,” Gubbio is the Italian town where the St. Ubaldo festival was invented and is the sister city of Jessup. Although the choir has missed this year’s festival in Gubbio, there was still a large audience for the choir’s concert in the town’s Basilica di Sant’ Ubaldo.
“The Valley View High School Performing Arts Booster Club, made up of parents and choir members, held various fundraisers throughout the year to help defray the cost of the students’ trip,” explained Gina Pascolini, the director of Voices of the Valley. “They had tremendous support from families and the Valley View community and beyond.
From Gubbio, the choir traveled to Assisi, where they were the performing choir for a mass in the lower Basilica of Saint Francis; Florence, where they performed at the Church of San Carlo; Orvieto, where they were given permission to sing in the Duomo and Rome, performing at St. Paul’s Within the Walls.
They presented informal, short performances in Gubbio, Florence, Pompeii, Isle of Capri, Naples and Rome (visiting notable sites like the Colosseum and the Vatican.They visited and paid their respects to fallen U.S. soldiers in the Salerno War Cemetery. Throughout the tour, the choir performed a broad range of repertoire, both a cappella and accompanied by Marty Ort.
“It was a trip designed to celebrate the cultural heritage of our region and the traditions of which our community is so proud,” Pascolini said.
An 11-day trip with dozens of students can have its occasional hitch, and Pascolini acknowledged that it did.
“As with any trip, or life, there were times when the unexpected happened: flight delays, high temperatures and humidity. Although the delays presented some kinks in the schedule, all worked out in the end.”
The students were surprised with an anonymous donation that allowed them to have a group tour of the Colosseum, which included Palatine Hill. The tour had been optional, and some students couldn’t afford it, so the anonymous gift was appreciated. The choir even sang a few measures of Orlando di lasso’s “O La, O Che Bon Echo” while they were inside.
This marks the second time the choir has traveled to perform in Europe. Could there be future trips?
“The last two trips happened because of opportunities which presented themselves at that point in time,” Pascolini said. “Who knows what the future will bring?”