Chamber choir to perform in Spain over break


Submitted Photo

Marshall University’s Chamber Choir is photographed in the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse lobby after a performance.

The Marshall University Chamber Choir will begin its Spring Break early, touring and performing across Spain from March 16 to 27. 

This ensemble of 30 students, directed by David Castleberry, associate dean of the College of Arts and Media, director or choral activities will arrive in Granada, Spain Thursday and have their first performance Friday with the University of Granada Choir. 

Castleberry, who led the choir on a tour through France in 2012, said the experience is designed to expose students to history and culture. 

For some excited singers this will be their first time out of the country.

“Excited is an understatement,” senior Gabriel Gray said. “I’ve never been abroad. I had a friend that went on the France tour and hoped I’d get a similar opportunity and here it is.”

During its week overseas the choir will perform in Jaen, Seville and Toledo Cathedral then culminate the tour in Madrid on Good Friday. 

The week will not be all work and no play. The students will have time to explore as well as participate in scheduled visits to the tombs of Ferdinand and Isabella in Granada, the Prado Art Museum in Madrid and more.

“During this trip, students will see firsthand a very old and different culture,” Castleberry said.  “They will also see the things we share with that culture and that is, for me, maybe the most important thing.”

While other Marshall Students may be at a spring break hotspot, the chamber choir will experience Spanish cuisine, Flamenco dancing and equestrian shows.

“I can’t wait to see the ancient cathedrals, cities and an entirely new culture,” Gray said.

Although the trip will be entertaining and educational, some students see it as a glance into their future performer careers.

“I’m looking forward to experiencing what the rest of my life as a performer will be like,” said sophomore Ryan Phipps. “As a performer, travel is a huge part of what I do: I travel and perform at different venues. This is my first international experience doing these things.”

The students will keep social media up-to-date on their experiences using the hashtag #MUChoirToursSpain on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

After returning to the United States, the Chamber Choir will perform April 3 at Fifth Avenue Baptist Church in Huntington at 3 p.m.

Leah Cook can be contacted at [email protected].