Sylvia Garcia Marin, ACFEA’s Manager for Latin America, based in Guadalajara, Mexico, has long been extolling the attractions of Costa Rica as a concert tour destination. We were therefore delighted when the San Francisco Boys Chorus (Ian Robertson, Artistic Director) chose that country for its 2013 tour.
Among the many features that the boys’ chorus enjoyed were the spectacular volcanoes, lakes and cloud forests; the range of concert venues from ornate Catholic churches to secular concert halls; a culture that is familiar with Western classical music; the opportunity to see and participate in important philanthropic work; comfortable hotels and kid-friendly food; and a relatively short flight from San Francisco, with just a one-hour time difference.
As Ian Robertson wrote after the tour, “Costa Rica is a beautiful and interesting country for a tour and we had very responsive and appreciative audiences. The visits to volcanoes and cloud forests were of great interest to our young performers and the catered food was always first rate.”
The tour started and ended in San José, the capital city, where the singers performed in the Eugene O’Neill Theater and the prestigious Teatro Auditorio Nacional.
From there they traveled to the ecologically fascinating northwest, via the Poás Volcano, and stayed in the town of La Fortuna, where they gave a concert in the church. They then visited the world-famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve before returning to San José.
The group spent several hours at the very impressive charity Obras del Espíritu Santo, a home for orphaned and abandoned children, where they toured the facility, sang to a large group of delightful children and made a generous donation to this very worthy cause. They also had the rich experience of an exchange and workshop (given by their Vocal Director, Jimmy Kansau, a native Spanish speaker) with the charming and increasingly flirtatious girls of the Llano School Children’s Choir. The most revered religious site in the country is the basilica in Cartago, just a short distance from San José, and the chorus gave a very well received concert in the generous acoustics of that church.
Costa Rica is a country with much to offer to choirs and orchestras of any age, and can easily be combined with one of its neighbors, Panama or Nicaragua, for a more comprehensive visit to the region. We look forward to welcoming many more groups to this rewarding area of Central America, and thank Ian and the San Francisco Boys Chorus for leading the way.