On Fri., March 13, Maryville College Concert Choir members boarded the bus at 3 p.m. to depart for their annual tour. The 2012-13 trip, “We Are Not Alone,” toured East Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Stopping at both schools and churches, the choir performed in various performance settings. However, according to Stacey Wilner, coordinator of choral music at MC, the choir confronted several challenges in the changing venues, including varying acoustics and an impending virus.
“Some locations had wonderful acoustics,” Wilner said. “Several times we had pianos, some of which were out of tune, but we made due and adjusted to the different singing environments.”
In addition to unpredictable acoustic settings, the choir was faced with illness.
“Let’s face it, we’re a choir,” Wilner said. “A bug has been going around. Everyone breathes on each other, so everyone had bronchitis. But despite hardships, the group sang well at every performance.”
However, students were provided a break from the busy tour schedule when visiting Surf Side Myrtle Beach and attending the Irish Festival the day before Saint Patrick’s Day, which Wilner said proved to be a time of recovery.
“Although we were sick, people really tried to maintain the energy and give each other support to perform to the best of our abilities,” said senior and choir president Celeste Delarosa. “Hopefully, when the audience sees us enjoying ourselves while we perform they’ll enjoy themselves and feel involved, too. We are such a close group, and that fact demonstrates our love and commitment to ourselves, as well as the music.”
Delarosa said that, as ambassadors of the college, it is the job of the choir to create and maintain a connection with students, alumni and the community.
“Tour has been a good way to build relationships,” said Seth Tinsley, a junior. “Most of us are already social, but we had the chance to know each other even better. Choir tour gave all of us the opportunity to become stronger as a group, as well as an opportunity to open doors for the college and expose students’ talents to the outside community.”
Wilner said that she thought this year’s tour was special because of the group of students that makes up the ensemble.
“They had less experience and unusual illnesses to face,” Wilner said. “Because of these hardships, students were forced to grow as a group, given a chance to better appreciate each other and to gain a connection that was not there before the tour.”
The choir, however, is not finished performing this semester. On April 12 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., as a tour extension, the choir will be singing at the Tennessee Music Educators All State in Chattanooga, Tenn. They will also be performing at the annual Rossini Festival and International Street Fair on April 27.
Next year, the choir will be touring in Washington, D.C.