From Carroll County, MD, to Canterbury, England, 20 local students were invited to join an International Children's Choir Festival hosted by the Canterbury Cathedral.
The middle and high school students ages 11 through 18 from the Children's Choir of Carroll County will join 351 singers from around the world, including the United States, Canada, England and Australia.
The group performing from Carroll County is called "Voce Viaggio," which means "voices travel" in Italian, and members were selected from an intense audition process. They have performed in numerous competitions and festivals, including the Heritage Festival Choral Adjudications with the Chorus in New York and Chicago, and walked away with highest honors.
They also were invited to Oxford England two years ago for a similar international festival, living in residence at Oxford University for a week before traveling back to London for additional performances.
The students are leaving July 25 and will be living and rehearsing at Canterbury Cathedral for almost a week. After a final concert at the cathedral, the students will travel to London for a concert at Southwark Cathedral with the Virtuoso of the London Orchestra.
“Not only do we sing in incredibly beautiful historic places but the music we sing is beautiful and the conductors we work with are the very best,” said Diane Jones, founder and artistic director of the Children’s Choir of Carroll County.
“And in addition to singing with a large chorus we’re also going to be singing pieces by ourselves and that’s really something.”
The group attended the festival in 2008, with only two other groups. This year there are seven choirs participating in the festival from four countries.
“It’s so neat because they will be with kids from all over the United States and from other parts of the world. Our kids will be able to talk with and experience different cultures with children that have similar interests,” said Jones.
The children’s choir has been rehearsing 10 months, specifically working on the festival music since the beginning of January. Jones makes sure that the members of the special group are thinking and visualizing their songs even on their time off.
“They have practice tapes, so they’re supposed to be thinking about it all the time,” said Jones. “You can’t accomplish everything you need to during rehearsals so I think with the tapes they’re beginning to picture this is a big deal.”