Chorale Leaves Tomorrow For Rome

The University Chorale is rehearsing for a spring break tour to Rome, which will be highlighted by a performance at Sunday Mass at St. Peter's Basilica and a scheduled public audience with Pope John Paul II.

The chorale is scheduled to sing for the pope in a public audience on March 5 at the Vatican, where it will perform "Tollite Hostius," or "Bring Costly Offerings," the last movement of the Christmas Oratorio by the late 19th-Century French Catholic composer Sainte-Sens.

"We're really excited about it. You can already sense the excitement building," said Chorale Director John Finney, who estimates that 120 singers and 30 alumni and parents will make the trip, leaving Feb. 28 and returning March 9.

Prior to its appearance at the Vatican, the Chorale will perform in a series of concerts, its repetoire including traditional American spirituals and works by Czech composer Antonin Dvorak and Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi. Finney said the Chorale's first performance will be one of the most challenging: Shortly after landing in Rome on March 1, the chorale will sing at a choral festival staged by an international sacred music association.

On Sunday, March 2, the chorale will sing in the morning at a high Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, and in the evening at a concert at St. Ignatius Church in Rome.

- Mark Sullivan

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