Teen singers perform for Pope at Vatican

Teen singers perform  for Pope at Vatican
Members of both the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus and the Episcopal Choir joined together to sing at a Papal Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on New Year’s Day.

Teenagers from Jacksonville helped Pope Francis ring in the new year when members of the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus Touring Choir (JCC) joined with the Upper School Chorale and Honors Chorale from the Episcopal School of Jacksonville to perform during the Papal Mass at the Vatican Jan.1.

Jacksonville’s historic neighborhoods were well-represented in both choral organizations during the week-long festival.

The JCC Touring Choir, under the director of JCC President and Artistic Director Darren Dailey, included Trinity Webster-Bass of Ortega, Ross Johnson of San Marco, and Katharine Conklin of Murray Hill, an Episcopal senior, who also sings with the JCC.

Singing for Episcopal were Klare Byran and Katherine Fackler of Ortega, Jake Moorehead of Avondale, Anna Combs of St. Nicholas, and Parker Joyce, Anna Mayo, and Michael Mumford of San Marco.

Jacksonville Children’s Chorus President Darren Dailey directs his singers in a rendition of “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” as Pope Francis and his security pass through St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

Jacksonville Children’s Chorus President Darren Dailey directs his singers in a rendition of “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” as Pope Francis and his security pass through St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

The choirs took part in the 3rd Annual Youth and Young Adult Choir Festival in Rome and at the Vatican. They had the opportunity to view Pope Francis up close when they sang “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” in St. Peter’s Square New Year’s Day.

The Papal Mass celebrated the Holy Day, Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and was performed in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. The students sat 10 rows from the Papal altar and alongside the Sistine Chapel Choir, one of the most elite choirs in the world. The singers had all the chants of the Mass memorized and sang along in perfect unison, said Carolyn Tuttle, director of choral music at Episcopal.

There was a collective gasp when the Pope came into view the first time, she said. “I heard many students say their hard work had finally paid off from the hours of rehearsal we spent learning the Mass music prior to arrival. It was truly a trip of a lifetime for these students, and I am so extremely proud of the way they sang, the way they represented themselves, and the way they looked after one another,” Tuttle said.

The JCC singers, which numbered 23 teens between the ages of 12 and 18, and the Episcopal vocalists, which included 20 students, also performed several times at the festival and at several local Italian churches, including during Mass at St. Francis Basilica in Assisi, a full concert in St. Ignatius Basilica, and impromptu performances at the Blessing of the Creche in St. Peter in Chains, San Sebastian Basilica and St. Paul’s Outside the Walls.

In addition to singing in the festival, the singers toured the Ancient City of Rome and the Sistine Chapel.

“The cultural significance of this tour for Northeast Florida is quite high,” said Dailey. “The JCC was invited to participate, which is an incredible honor. As we prepared to export our artistic excellence in music to one of the world’s most important choral hubs, we were grateful to our local community. Without its help, none of this would be possible,” he said.


By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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