It’s a Tuesday afternoon at Buena High School and the enchantingly rich sound of 42 a capella voices fills the choir room.
On this day, the students are performing William Byrd’s “I Have Longed for Thy Saving Health,” a sacred piece Byrd composed during the Renaissance period.
Under the direction of Jill Brown, the students are preparing for a trip to Ireland in March where they will perform in cathedrals, walk in a Saint Patrick’s Day parade and take part in a joint concert with a youth group in Killarney, along with seeing the country’s sights.
The students will tour castles, visit the cliffs of Moher and some may even kiss the Blarney Stone.
“This is an experience of a lifetime,” Buena senior Bailey Silk exclaimed. “It’s an amazing opportunity to visit a European country, experience their culture and learn about their life. I’m so excited about this trip and the opportunity to sing in cathedrals that were built centuries ago.”
Forty-two members of Buena High School’s choir will head to Ireland during spring break to experience the country and its heritage while sharing their passion for music.
Two of the school’s choral groups — Concert Choir and Dynamics — and 24 adults are making the trip.
“We’ve been working on special music that the students will be performing when we’re in Ireland,” said Brown, who has taken students to Canada and Mexico on past trips, with this as her first European excursion with members of the choir.
Brown said she wanted to give her students an overseas experience and, after researching different options, found the Ireland package both intriguing and more affordable than other European tours.
“We’re doing this through Music Travel and Tours, and I’m really happy with the itinerary they’ve planned for us,” she said. “We’re going to be doing a lot of sightseeing, including the Blarney Stone and two of the oldest cathedrals in Ireland. It’s going to be an amazing experience for the kids, and I’m really happy with how the trip is coming together.”
The students have been holding fundraisers for more than a year, and will continue to work at raising money for the trip.
“On Nov. 19, Chipotle’s (Mexican Grill) is donating a percentage of its proceeds toward our trip when customers come in between 4 and 8 p.m.,” Brown said. “In order for the choir to receive the donation, customers will need to mention the Buena choir to the servers. We appreciate all that Chipotle is doing to support our Ireland trip.
“Tax credits are a huge benefit to school programs like this, so we’re letting the community know that we could use any tax credit support they can give us.”
Choir member Nolan Brown has never been to Europe. He said when Brown first spoke about the trip last year, he was excited about visiting another country.
“I’m really looking forward to everything about this trip. I’m excited about experiencing Ireland’s musical tone and culture and blending it with ours,” the Buena senior said. “We’re going to be exchanging ideas with some of the youth groups that are there, which is going to be a great experience. I’m very excited about singing in the old cathedrals built with perfect acoustics hundreds of years ago and hearing the heavenly sound they produce.”