Some students went home for spring break, while others traveled somewhere warm. But the USD Chamber Singers took a trip across the Atlantic and spent their break touring Europe.
Every spring, the Chamber Singers go on a tour. Last year, they traveled throughout the Midwest, but this year, they took their music all the way to England and France and performed five concerts.
Junior music education major Dominick McClendon has been a part of Chamber Singers for the last two years, and this was his first time visiting Europe.
“It was kind of like a mini vacation for all of us,” McClendon said. “While we were in London, the first thing we did was see the set of Harry Potter. For a lot of people, I think that was a highlight. We got to see a lot of the iconic sights like the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace. When we were in France, of course we saw the Eiffel Tower. It’s beautiful, you can see all of Paris.”
Junior vocal performance major Bailey Quade has been in Chamber Singers since her freshman year. This was not her first time in Europe, but it was her first time visiting England and France.
“My favorite place was Ely, a little town in England,” Quade said. “We got some free time there and got to walk around which is something I really enjoy, because it shows you what it’s like to live there. It’s nice to see the small parts of England.”
The Chamber Singers start preparing their music set at the beginning of the school year and build on it until the tour. While they’re used to performing in auditoriums and concert halls, their concerts were all in cathedrals and churches.
“The acoustics are different and I think just knowing the history behind everything makes it more special,” Quade said. “The sound is amazing. Getting to sing in these buildings that have been around for thousands of years and immersing myself in the history of each place was my favorite part.”
McClendon said he enjoyed performing in these spaces because of the amount of history and reverence within them.
“Right now I’m in music history, and we just got done learning about all these composers from different eras,” McClendon said. “To go back and sing their music for Chamber and then sing in the places that their music would’ve been performed is life changing. It really puts into perspective that this one piece was written in 1620 and now you’re singing it in 2019 at the place it was meant to be performed.”
McClendon said bonding with the group as they blended thier voices abroad is something he won’t forget.
“Some of these places in Europe were just so resonant and the sound traveled so far that you could pick out yourself and hear the person on the other half of the choir behind you,” McClendon said. “It was an amazing experience and really fun to connect our voices that way. I don’t think for the rest of my college career there can be anything that tops it. This is something I’m going to remember for a long time.”