There is a long-standing tradition of The Covenant School, in some capacity, performing overseas. The past several years have seen a hiatus from these trips but this year saw a “return to normalcy.” Vocation, Covenant’s a capella ensemble, traveled over Thanksgiving to Vienna for the Vienna Advent Sing Festival.
The group sang at venues that included the MIM Music and IT Centre, the Schonbrunn Palace Christmas Market Stage, Abbey Church in Melk, and City Hall where the International Advent Sing festival concerts took place! Along the way they saw St. Stephen’s Cathedral, most of the city of Vienna and it’s museums and palaces, and the infamous Christmas Market.
The group worked hard to make this possible, fundraising and practicing for months ahead of time. Jerry King, Arts Director said in a letter prior to the group’s departure:
“The directors' advance trip in July was an eye-opener for me. The size of this stage and the seriousness of this audience was higher, bigger than I had anticipated. ‘Could we actually pull this off credibly? It would mean a lot of work to prepare a sufficient repertoire to the level expected. And our group is quite young and inexperienced. Will we have even developed a sound by November?’
But, we plunged in, took up the challenge and put in the hours.
Turns out, yes, we now do have a sound. Sharp ears who have been paying attention year by year have noted that "this is the best that Vocation has ever sounded." And they're right.
And we have put together four different slates of songs, drawing from a repertoire of around a dozen solid numbers, several being medley mash-ups of more than one tune. My not-at-all hidden hope is that, in addition to whatever life-long memories you all pack back home with you from this trip, you will also have received the ‘gift’ of an interesting and beautiful collection of Christmas carols and songs that you will continue to happen upon like old friends for the rest of your lives. Songs ‘planted’ in there when we are young are some of the most deeply rooted memories we carry with us, all the way to the end.”
The group received excellent feedback and positive comments from others who performed and attended — and had fun along the way. According to McCallum F., tenth grader and member of Vocation, “It was the best trip I’ve ever been on. So worth it.”
Located in Charlottesville, VA, The Covenant School is a non-denominational, private, Christian day school for Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12. Students benefit from a challenging academic program, visual and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.