“It’s the kind of thing that can’t happen the same way twice.”

By Carly DaSilva, Summit Chorale Tour Participant

When the opportunity to go to Ireland presents itself, you simply say yes.

That was my first thought when I heard that the group of singers I’d just become part of—the Summit Chorale—was planning to tour in Ireland. Limerick, Galway, and Dublin. Motets and mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Guinness and Jameson. I wanted to go—I knew I had to go—because it was Ireland! Who doesn’t want to go at least once? I expected the trip to be special from the beginning. Simply being there, seeing the sights, and on top of that, singing beautiful music, of course that would be special.

“Special,” though, doesn’t completely capture it. Traveling together engenders a unique camaraderie—it pulled us closer than we’d ever been back home. Our guide and our coach driver became as much a part of the Chorale as any of us, our friends as much as they were our shepherds throughout the experience. And the people we sang for, well. It didn’t matter how large or small the audience was, or how grand the venue: the people who came to see us, they clearly came to hear and feel and love the music, just as much as we did ourselves, singing it. There is nothing quite as magical as when passionate performers meet a passionate audience. Every performance was exhilarating, precious, and beautiful.

The best moments were the small ones, and the mishaps that were miracles. When we discovered that “Streets of London” was so well-loved and well-known that we invited everyone to sing it with us each time, and they did. When we gathered where Handel’s Messiah was first performed and sang “The Hallelujah Chorus” for the passersby. When the power went out mid-performance at a small church in Maynooth, and we finished the concert by the setting sun’s light slanting through the windows, each piece more reverent, more touching, in the growing dark.

There is always great joy in being able to do art. But to be able to do it like this: with these people, in such a lovely place, while on a grand adventure. It’s the kind of thing that can’t happen the same way twice. It’s why live performance, in its transience, moves us. And it’s now the reason why any time I have the chance to tour, no matter where in our wide and beautiful world, I will say yes.