On Jan. 28, members of the University of La Verne choir travelled to Oahu, Hawaii, to showcase their talents.
The six-day trip included song exchanges with other choral groups, exposure to the Hawaiian culture and bonding time for the choir members.
The ULV choir, who usually performs locally, had the chance to travel and gain a new perspective of what it’s like to perform for a larger audience.
The trip and its arrangements with other choral groups were organized by the choir’s director, Stephen Gothold.
Gothold made plans for the choir to interact with groups he had either worked or performed with in the past.
Matt White, president and tenor in the choir, said that the choir needed to gain a new audience.
“People know what to expect because we usually perform for the same people,” White said.
“It bettered us because all of the music that we learned for the tour, we learned in a month. It really gave us something to push for.”
The choir was able to perform at several locations during their tour.
They also participated in a song exchange with the University of Hawaii chorus.
“We sang at different places, held conferences at different churches and we did song changes with two groups,” soprano Caitlin McCarthy said.
The choir found the experience of working with the Hawaiian choral groups to be challenging and educational.
“By going to such a different place, we were able to perform for a different audience and we were able to respond to multiple audiences,” second soprano Ashley Miguel said.
“It’s important as a choir to experience a tour.”
“It was really hard because we joined in with two groups in two days,” McCarthy said.
“It was the University of Hawaii chorus and they didn’t go over how to pronounce any of the words, and they were way different than anything in any language.”
“Everything was different, from the way they sounded to the way they rehearsed,” White said.
“We were able to see other choirs perform and hear how they sound and how they blend together,” Miguel said.
White felt there was a lot to learn from observing the singing and rehearsing habits of other choirs.
“We really need to learn to sing out of the box,” White said.
The trip also opened up a forum of bonding opportunities for the choir.
“It was more of just a group experience that all of us kind of got to know each other better,” Miguel said.
“We spent six days together in a hotel and in the bus,” White said.
“We learned a lot about each other. It was a good thing.”
The choir also spent time immersing themselves in the culture and sites that Hawaii has to offer.
“We went to the Pearl Harbor Memorial and we went to a luau and we learned how to hula,” McCarthy said.
“Some of the group went snorkeling,” White said.
“I swam in the beach water; I had never been in the ocean.”
The choir was welcomed with much hospitality in Hawaii and felt very accepted everywhere that they went.
“There was a lot of hospitality. They were very well receiving of our talent,” White said.
“We just felt extremely welcome. It was great.”
The trip to Hawaii also helped to create a bond between the ULV choir and various Hawaiian choral organizations.
“We saw an opera with another choir,” White said.
“A few of us actually went ahead and exchanged Facebooks and MySpaces with the other singers.”
While the choir does not plan to travel extensively the rest of this academic year, they will continue to perform in the Los Angeles area.
According to White, the choir is already looking for a location for both spring break and the January term of the coming academic year in 2009.
“We’re looking to leave the country next time,” White said.
Shanika Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.