Piedmont Children’s Choirs 2012 Concert Tour of Mexico

Mexico has long been an ambivalent destination in many groups’ minds: its wonderfully rich culture, including a wealth of classical choral music dating back to the Baroque, spectacular churches and cathedrals, and an abundance of excellent choirs on the one hand, and the violence that we hear about on the other hand. Every now and then, however, a group digs below the headlines and realizes that those two aspects of the country are in quite distinct regions and that the delights of the first can be enjoyed with no more than the usual risks inherent in any tour.

The Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir, directed by Robert Geary, was one such group. Reassured by the fact that ACFEA has an office in Mexico, and after allowing ample opportunity for parents to have all their questions and concerns addressed by chorus and ACFEA staff, effectively the whole senior ensemble experienced a wonderful tour of this amazing country.

Building on Geary’s existing contacts and using ACFEA’s local knowledge, the group visited San Miguel de Allende, Morelia and Mexico City. Four formal concerts were given – one of them joint with two Mexican children’s choirs, with a most enjoyable workshop beforehand.

Here is what Daphne Williams, a 16-year-old participant, wrote about her experiences:

Our choir tour to México was a unique and unforgettable experience. As we embarked on the tour, I had no preconceptions about México; the only certainty was that I would have a great time. How could I not, surrounded by the music and people I love? In fact, on our first day in México, as my friends and I sang together on the roof of our hotel in San Miguel de Allende, we agreed that we’d never been in any country quite like it. The beautiful buildings, delicious food, and in-depth explanations of México’s history and daily life immersed our choir in a rich and colorful culture. The hotels and performance venues were well chosen, and we took many interesting sightseeing tours on foot.

I loved our practice of singing to every restaurant we dined at as our sincerest way of saying thank you. Before our journey to the pyramids of Teotihuacan, we ate breakfast at a very picturesque hotel, and ended our visit with El Jarabe Tapatio [the traditional Mexican hat dance, once banned due to its suggestive nature]. A mariachi singer was inspired to ask us to sing our song a second time, so that he could perform a dance to go along with it. It was wonderful to connect with someone on the basis of our music.

Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir is joined by the mariachi performer who was inspired to dance during their singing of the Mexican hat dance

The highlight of our trip, though, was our concert in the Conservatorio de las Rosas in Morelia. The acoustics were absolutely breathtaking. In preparation for our performance, we had the opportunity to work with José-Luis Hurtado on his brilliant composition Mar Eterno [commissioned by Piedmont Choirs], which was truly brought to life under his direction. It was a well attended concert, and we performed at our very best.

On our last day of tour, we gave a joint concert with the Niños Cantores de la Escuela Nacional de Música and Schola Cantorum in the Teatro de la Escuela Nacional de Música. In addition to another rewarding performance on our own part, we were exposed to the music of two excellent choirs from México.

Our choir improved and grew closer through this enriching opportunity to perform in a new country and expose ourselves to its culture. 

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