Carthage Choir Around the Globe with Jessica Cepolski ‘18
By Madison Kobe ’18
One of the best things about Carthage is the plethora of student organizations and clubs; Carthage has more than 100. Every student can find a group of like-minded students; and, new organizations are constantly being created or revitalized as interests shift. The Carthage Choir, founded in 1927, is the oldest performing group on campus, and is globally acclaimed. Every three years, Carthage Choir travels to another country to perform in a variety of venues, receive feedback on their performance, and explore countries they might not other have the opportunity to visit. Jessica Cepolski ’18 went on the Carthage Choir’s tour to Europe this year, and I was able to hear a little about her experience.
How long have you been involved in choir?
I have been involved in choir since I was very little. I always loved singing beautiful pieces with people who had very different voices than myself. I have been involved in choir at Carthage since the beginning of my freshman year. I was in Chapel Choir my freshman year and have been in Carthage Choir since sophomore year.
Was this your first time going to Europe?
Yes! This was my first time going to Europe and it was awe-inspiring. It was incredible to visit places that I’ve only dreamt about seeing and to experience the culture that has kept so much history alive.
Where specifically did you go during the trip?
We visited Hungary, Slovenia, and Italy. We went to the cities of Budapest, Ljubljana, Venice, Florence, and Rome.
What did you do with the choir? What did you do during your free time?
We sang in so many beautiful churches and concert halls during our tour. When we weren’t singing, we had the opportunity to go to museums, go on tours, and even explore the cities in smaller groups of our own. A group of us even went to go see the Pope during one of our free mornings!
What was a highlight of the trip?
One of the coolest things we did was visit the Vatican City in Rome. The choir was able to sing at a mass in St. Peter’s Bascilica, visit the Sistine Chapel, and take a tour of the Vatican museums. Learning about Michelangelo and being able to actually see the history that lives in Rome just took my breath away.
What struggles, if any, did you come across?
Since it was such a long trip (about two and a half weeks), everyone started to feel a little homesick by the end of the tour. We were immersed in such a different culture, and some of it was very shocking to us. But, we were all able to help each other with our separate struggles and come together to create amazing music. That’s what I love about this choir; no matter what obstacles we may encounter, we can overcome the most unpleasant of situations and still achieve artistic excellence.
How do you feel the trip helped you as a performer?
This trip helped me prioritize as a performer so that I could make the most out of this trip. It helped me decide what was worth focusing my energy on and what was not worth focusing my energy on so that I could stay mentally and physically healthy during our travels. I was able to develop my professionalism in an environment that presented me with opportunities to have fun and work hard while experiencing a different culture. Overall, this trip helped foster my love for making and sharing music that connected us to people from all around the world.
Carthage Choir, under the direction of Dr. Eduardo Garcia-Novelli, will perform the Return Tour Concert on Sunday, February 11 at 1 p.m. in A. F. Siebert Chapel. This concert is free and open to the public.