Greater Middletown Chorale 2011 Concert Tour of Italy

by Emily Frye, ACFEA Tour Manager

One Sunday afternoon in April, as I was sitting in a church listening to a performance by the Greater Middletown Chorale, I realized that the group was going to have an absolutely wonderful tour of Italy.

We feel this way often, of course. It is our mission to create life-changing experiences by providing opportunities for people to share their music with the audiences of the world. So much care goes into planning a tour that by the time we wave goodbye to a group at the airport, we’re over the moon excited for them.

Greater Middletown Chorale performs in the Duomo San Lorenzo in Abano Terme, Italy

And yet, there was something special about this group. They were not only singing beautifully, with a thoughtfully chosen and expertly presented repertoire, but there was also magic in their performance. Magic that made it absolutely clear just how much the choristers cared about each other and the music they were making.

Then it dawned on me: the magic they had was an advanced level of camaraderie and togetherness, the exact kind that groups usually develop when they travel together. They wouldn’t get on the plane for another month, but in a way they were already on tour. Italy was going to be a dream.

Looking at the itinerary, that was already obvious. GMC was slated to perform formal concerts in three fantastic venues: the Chiesa San Marcello al Corso in the heart of Rome, the Chiesa San Stefano al Ponte Vecchio in the center of Florence, and Abano Terme’s beautiful Duomo San Lorenzo, an intimate setting outside Venice. The group rounded out its singing with a mass participation in Venice’s Basilica di San Marco, one of the most famous and iconic religious spaces in the world. In addition to the performances, they would be treated to Italy’s gorgeous landscapes, stunning history and legendary cuisine.

So what happens when you take a group that already sings with perfect esprit de corps on tour?

The levels of musicianship, the abundance of joy and the amount of sheer fun increase exponentially. In other words, the magic gets even better!

“The GMC‘s camaraderie fully blossomed and relationships between people deepened through what we experienced and through the music we made. Witnessing (and participating in) this throughout the entire tour was the most rewarding part for me, and the greatest blessing,” Joseph D’Eugenio, Greater Middletown Chorale’s Artistic Director and Conductor, wrote to me when they arrived home.

“To see people who I love so much, and whose presence I am so grateful for in my life, immerse themselves in the wonders of a beautiful place and in the best of each other is simply miraculous and a joy. Our GMC truly is a special family, one that you, as well as all those who helped organize and participated in it, are part of now too.”

Getting to know the Greater Middletown Chorale truly does feel like becoming a part of a family, and I was honored to do so. And as they proved, tour preparations aren’t just about learning the music and knowing what to pack. They’re about how a group comes together as an ensemble and how they emotionally prepare for the life-changing experiences ahead.

To learn more about Italy as a possible concert tour destination for your ensemble, please visit our Italy destination page, or contact us.