Eau Claire (WQOW) - The UW-Eau Claire Concert Choir was selected to sing in Vatican City's Sistine Chapel over winter break.
On Dec. 28, the group will start a special tour around Italy. This is not the first time they have been abroad, but the Concert Choir will make Blugold history with its performance in the Sistine Chapel.
"I think singing for a lot of us in Concert Choir has been a big part of our lives," Concert Choir Secretary Holland Kabat said. This is her fifth semester with the group.
Concert Choir Conductor Dr. Gary Schwartzhoff said the group is scheduled to sing one song.
"We are planning on doing the piece that was commissioned for the tour, 'Ubi Caritas,'" Schwartzhoff said.
However, the group will not stop with the Sistine Chapel. The tour will take them all across Italy's most historic venues.
"I guess I am really looking forward to hearing how those chords sound in beautiful old chapels and cathedrals and experiencing that with the choir," Kabat said. "Just bringing music with us is a beautiful experience."
Senior Jeremy Steinmetz said there was no better way to spend his winter break that learning about a new culture with his choir family.
"How many people get to sing in the Sistine Chapel? Very few," Steinmetz said. "It is just going to be a surreal moment I feel."
Schwartzhoff said he had to pull many strings to get inside the Sistine Chapel, and students have worked incredibly hard to prepare for the performance.
"There are definitely some high stakes that come with these performances," Concert Choir Accompanist Megan Sorenson said. I am a little nervous, but I would say it is more excitement."
Between performances that will typically take an hour, the students will have some sight-seeing time.
"I am really looking forward to seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and then seeing the museums in Florence and seeing Michelangelo's David," Adam Accola said. This is Accola's seventh semester with the group.
The Concert Choir has performed at many cathedrals throughout Europe. They sang in France for the 50th and 60th Anniversaries of D-Day, and sang countless times for the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association for Music Education. All of those performances and recordings of the choir made it possible for them to perform at the Sistine Chapel.
The price for each student to tour Italy is $4,000. Students are covering the cost themselves with loans or help from family, but anyone can make a scholarship donation to the UW-Eau Claire Concert Choir.