North Central College - Naperville, IL

Concert Choir immersed in Italian musical history and tradition

A first-ever European tour to Rome, Venice and Florence March 16-24 gave North Central’s Concert Choir an immersion in musical history and tradition. In addition to singing in world-renowned cathedrals, like St. Peter’s Basilica at Vatican City in Rome and St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the choir visited Cremona, home of the Stradivarius violin, and Florence. “The whole experience was geared to music students and so it was very special for us,” says Professor of Music Jeordano Martínez, director of the Concert Choir. “Our talented students were really excited about performing in such historical venues, especially the Vatican.”

The choir sang during Catholic masses at St. Peter’s Basilica and at St. Mark’s Basilica and at concerts in Florence, Venice and Siena. The size and enthusiasm of the audiences at the concerts was another highlight of the trip. “We were worried about attendance (at our concert in Rome),” wrote Grant Swanson ’11 in his blog about the trip. “But when we went to our spots to sing, the chapel was packed. People kept pouring in throughout the concert, 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!”

The North Central contingent of 45 people included 37 singers, as well as parents, spouses and President Hal and Benna Wilde. The choir was accompanied by David Schmitz, associate professor of mathematics, who studied organ during his undergraduate years at Notre Dame. The thrill of playing in these venues made the trip memorable for him, as well. “It just sort of hits you: here I am playing the organ in St. Peter’s Basilica,” he says.

To read more about the trip and view photos, visit

North Central NOW Spring 2011