The beauty of the countryside was inspirational.

The beauty of the countryside was inspirational.

In honor of the College's Centennial year, last May the Bella Voce women's choir immersed themselves in the College's Benedictine heritage in Italy. The 45-voice choir visited Subiaco, Norcia, Rome, Assisi, and Siena.  The 10-day tour "was designed to strengthen the choir's understanding of the worldwide Benedictine community and to provide a unique insight into our College's Benedictine traditions and values," said director Bret Amundson. A few reflections from the participants:

Wednesday, May 15 - Rome
We headed to Sant' Agnese in Agone for our first concert in Italy.  It was amazing to see posters up around Rome promoting our concert-between that and the warm reception we got from the crowd that gathered at our impromptu performance in the street (some even asked for pictures with us), we felt famous!  What left me breathless this time was the way that we were able to connect with our audience despite the language barrier between us.  They clearly understood the messages we were trying to convey through each of our songs.  I am excited to bring this experience back with me to CSS to further explore this idea of music acting as a bridge to build community between different groups of people.

Bianca Aspin '16, psychology and music

Friday, May 17 - Subiaco
The day started out looking very gloomy as the rain poured profusely on our entire travel from Rome to Subiaco.  Not long after our arrival, the sun came bursting through the clouds, welcoming us to one of the most beautiful places on Earth.  The Monastery encompasses the cave that St. Benedict lived as a hermit before he organized his first monastic community.  My most memorable moment was having the pleasure of singing in at St. Scholastica Abbey, located just feet below St. Benedict's Monastery.  The performance was heavenly!  The acoustics in the church were to die for, and each song was magnificently performed.  I felt as though the spirit of St. Scholastica and St. Benedict were with us as we sang.  An encore was requested and happily granted.  

Antonia Ross '15, music education

Sunday, May 19 - Bastia Umbra/Norcia/Assisi
This morning we sang for Mass in Bastia Umbra with the Benedictine nuns of Sant'Anna Monastery.  Afterwards, they invited us into their beautiful courtyard to eat a bounty of delicious snacks they had prepared for us.  I felt incredibly blessed by their hospitality, especially when I realized that in preparing all of this, they loved us even before they met us or heard us sing!  We spent the afternoon touring Norcia, where St. Benedict and his twin sister St. Scholastica were born (today the Basilica and Monastery of St. Benedict stands at the site).  In the evening, we returned to Assisi and had free time to eat dinner and climb to the Rocca Maggiore, a fortress atop the hill with spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.

Emily Valine '13, music

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - Traveling Home
To say that this trip was great would be an understatement.  The things that we were able to experience as young musicians were astonishing.  Each day we learned new things about ourselves, our school, and each other.  We had the opportunity sing in some of the most treasured cathedrals in the world.  We saw the places where Saint Scholastica and Saint Benedict grew up and created the foundation of our school.  We touched people with our music, even bringing some people to tears after they heard us sing.  These experiences brought us together.  As we travelled back to MN, it was evident that new relationships were formed and the sense of community had been created.  Music is a window to the soul and it is wonderful that we were able to share a part of our soul with each other and with Italy.

Emily Lundgren '16, biology pre-med intended