Members, teachers and others involved with the Voices of the Valley, choral ensemble from Valley View High School are beginning to decompress from their recent two-week trip to Wales.
The Côr Dathlu Cwmtawe Male Choir and Her Majesty’s Representative to the County of Powys (in the heart of the Swansea Valley) officially requested that Valley View’s troupe of singers come to Wales to represent the Lackawanna Valley in performances across South Wales at popular venues and with other award-winning Welsh choirs.
“It’s so difficult to put in to words the experience we encountered,” said Gina Pascolini, choral director. “But I couldn’t be more proud of the students who represented Valley View, the Lackawanna Valley and the USA in such a poised and respectful fashion.”
She also had many people to thank.
“This trip would not have been possible without the planning of Ted Frutchey and Selywn Morris,” she said. “These two men worked tirelessly to make the 14-day journey one we will never forget. It is because of them we were able to see the beautiful United Kingdom and meet the wonderful people of Wales. Jerry Williams and the VVPA Booster parents assisted with raising the funds to allow the students to attend and without them, there would be no trip.”
The group visited (and performed, at almost every stop): Stonehenge; had a whirlwind tourist day in London, ending with a West-end production of “Phantom of the Opera;” Tintern Abbey, built in the 1100s on the border between England and Wales; Rhossili Beach on the Gower Peninsula; the Dan Yr Ogof Caves, Craig Y Nos Castle and Saint Cynog’s Church, the Welsh National Botanical Gardens; Laugharne Castle; Kidwelly Castle; Saint David’s Cathedral (the oldest Cathedral in Wales); Ysgol Bro Dinefwr; Cardiff City and Welsh Senedd (where they met members of Parliament and sang the Welsh Anthem for those assembled); the St. Fagans Welsh National History Museum; spent a day with their hosts, the choir at Ysgol Bae Baglan school; Neath Swansea and Port Talbot; Ystradgynlais (where the Buskagynlais community music festival was taking place); Protheroe Memorial Park (named for Welsh composer and conductor Daniel Protheroe, whose grave is in the cemetery near St. Joseph’s Center in Scranton); Big Pit National Coal Museum and Raglan Castle.
“The power of music knows no boundaries, not in miles, age nor language,” Pascolini said. “We are most humbled, blessed and thankful have been able to make this trip to Wales and to have made friends for a lifetime.”`