University choir is going to Portugal for spring break

Jeff LamsonGeneral Assignment Reporter

A trip to Portugal, a remembrance concert for Sandy Hook in May, along with the regular spring concert are on Southern’s University Choir calendar for Spring 2018.

The choir will travel to Portugal over spring break next month to perform alongside another choir from Portugal. (Do you know the name over the other choir? -AC) “Foi Deus,” and “Accordai,” will both be performed in Portuguese and were recommended by the other choir. There will also be a song in both French and Russian.

“Their songs are really beautiful,” said sophomore music major, Candace Naude. “I really look forward to singing them, even though I can’t pronounce Portuguese at all.”

Megan Baker, a junior history and political science major is going to Portugal along with Naude and most of the choir members. When she went to Greece with the choir, she said that the days were long, with multiple rehearsals and concerts at the end of the long day.

She said that it was not all about being on vacation and that it was a lot of work. Baker did say that it was a way to break through cultural barriers and, “when you love it, it doesn’t really feel like work anyway.”

“Everybody’s there because they want to be there,” said Choir Director, Dr. Terese Gemme. She said that some of the roughly a dozen alumni who sing in the choir have been doing so for 15 years. Two of the community members in the choir are the parents of someone that Naude had gone to school with.

Naude said she loves the presence of these community members in the choir. “You can meet anybody,” she said, “and it expands your social world.”

On the selection of the music, Naude said, “Dr. Gemme chooses the music, but it’s never songs that we wouldn’t have picked ourselves.” Some additional songs that will be performed include, “In Remembrance,” “Soon Ah Will Be Done,” and “Turn The World Around.” Gemme said that the themes of this semester’s music are peace and justice.

Naude and Baker are in their fourth and sixth semesters of Southern’s University Choir, respectively, and both plan on continuing with it for their entire time at Southern.

“If I wasn’t doing it,” said Naude, “I would be thinking about doing it.” She said that there was nothing that could stop her from doing choir and asked, “What’s 3 hours out of your day just to be able to have that experience?” Naude said that singing in a group is just as important as the work of a soloist.

Baker said that the inconvenience of 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. is minimal compared to what she gets out of it. She also said that going to Greece and being able to sing there for the choir was a, “double-whammy.”

She said that to be able to travel, “and to also do something that you love there, it’s kind of just an unparalleled experience.”

Gemme had introduced Baker to the choir in the Honors College, where they both work. Baker said that she was glad that she was able to be a part of the choir without sacrificing the studies in both of her majors.

For her future in the choir, after university, Baker said, “If I’m here, I without a doubt would probably keep coming back, probably as one of those alum-community members.”

Photo Credit: Jeff Lamson


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