Merecedes Villegas, a retired English teacher at IES Campanar accompanied a Valencia choir (Coro Corcheas) to the USA in the summer of 2013.
Like quavers on sheet music, a group of 20 young singers (Coro Corcheas), their conductor, Jose Vicente de Sousa, plus a pianist and a vocal teacher toured the USA for 17 days and gave more than 10 concerts in many different cities.
The first three venues were in such beautiful cities as Washington and New York, a promising start since they also sang in three of their most characteristic churches: St Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, the same church where president JFK’s funeral was held back in 1963, and in St Patrick Cathedral and St John the Divine Cathedral in New York City.
Quavers Choir, aged 13 to 20 years old, also had time for some tourism in all these places and they sang a song when they saw a wedding couple in a garden or when they met a numerous group of more than 100 boyscouts in Washington. They visited the MET, boarded the Ferry to Staten Island and enjoyed hot dogs and big ice creams in Central Park.
The next destination was Boston. There they sang at the Spanish College of the Complutense University and in St Paul’s Church in Harvard Square. This latest performance was probably one of the best as they shared the stage with their host choir (the excellent PALS choir) and even interpreted ‘Carmina Burana’ together, something which moved the audience and which was actually soul stirring.
Then the second part of the tour began as we all headed towards Fulton, a small town in New York State, near the border with Canada. Two of the singers in Quavers have their grandparents living there. In fact Renée Rice, the girls’ mother was the one who did all the hard work to make this trip possible. As a result the whole town volunteered to put up the girls in their houses, treated us all to an excellent dinner and there were certainly tears when we had to leave the town after the four days there and two wonderful performances, one at St Mary’s Church in Auburn and another one at the Alliance Church in Fulton. This one was packed with people who loved it “they sing like angels”, I recall them saying.Well, it’s true and I must add that the Quavers’ repertoire consists of 43 pieces of music in 7 different languages and that the girls sing all of them by heart, although they can all read music. They had enthusiastically rehearsed a lot in Spain in preparation for the tour and recorded a CD and made artistic hand fans to try and collect some money by selling them after the concerts, now that funds from the Government or the Town Hall in Valencia fail to reach music bands and schools of music like DIVISI.
The final destination was a turning point because the girls joined Bethesda Gospel Choir in the city of Buffalo. We even had a rehearsal session with their musical director and both choirs sang together in the Gospelfest 2013. This last festival was held at the Martin Luther King Park and though the weather forecast “Rain on Me”, it eventually “Let it Shine”.
From Buffalo we also had a ride by bus to the Niagara Falls, where we had a lovely time (and refreshing shower) on board the Maid of the Mist.
A dozen people –parents or students of DIVISI, joined Quavers Choir on this American adventure. For the girls, it was demanding but they lived an unforgettable experience. A pity I am 61 already. If I were not, I would dress up and comb my hair in a ponytail so that I could join them on their next tour. And if I sang off key, what would I have to do?? Just …let’s face the music and dance!!