North Central College - Naperville, IL

Concert Choir hits high notes on European tour

Performing in some of the most hallowed cities and cathedrals in Europe created special memories for North Central’s Concert Choir.

The choir of 37 singers, under the direction of Jeordano “Pete” Martinez, professor of music, spent seven days in Italy and sang during Catholic masses at St. Peter’s Basilica at Vatican City and St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice and at concerts in Florence, Venice and Siena.

For Taylor Martin ’11, who wants to pursue choral conducting as a career, the opportunity to conduct was certainly a highlight of the tour. “St. Mark’s in Venice is so musically historical and Pete let me conduct a piece for the mass there,” says Martin, a music major.

“The whole experience was geared to music students,” says Martinez. He and the performers were pleased by the enthusiasm of the audiences. Wrote Grant Swanson ’11 in his blog: “People kept pouring in throughout the concert (in Rome) and the audience was very receptive. Afterward, a French couple admitted to coming to hear us after we sang during mass at St. Peter’s. They wanted to hear more!”

David Schmitz, associate professor of mathematics, accompanied the choir. He studied organ during his undergraduate years at Notre Dame so the trip was memorable for him, too. “It just sort of hits you: here I am playing the organ in St. Peter’s Basilica,” he says.

The North Central contingent also included President Harold Wilde and his wife Benna. “It was special for us that we got to know President Wilde and his wife,” adds Martin. “They enjoy the arts so much.”

To read more about the trip, visit