Larisa Choir Tour to Barcelona and Paris 2018! travel blog


Montserrat Monastery

Montserrat Pano

Conducting Montserrat

Group Photo

Casual Group Photo

San Cugat Monastery

9th Century Stained Glass

School Concert Exchange

Day 3 in Barcelona, Spain began with an hour long bus ride toward the Catalan Pre-Coastal Mountain Range and the Parc Natural de la Muntanya de Montserrat. The word ‘Montserrat’ means “serrated mountains.” The location is best known in the Catholic faith for the Benedictine Abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat.

Once we arrived, we took a little time to take in the scenery and walk the grounds near the Montserrat Monastery. The views of the cliffs were absolutely breathtaking and the rock formations are striking! We soon made our way toward The Basilica of Montserrat Monastery in order to perform a 10-minute sacred music recital, prior to the performance of the Escolania. What a difference it makes to perform choral music in the acoustic spaces of cathedrals and basilicas! The music I sang and conducted truly came to life in a completely new way to me on this trip— especially in this space!

The Escolania is a 50-member Boys Choir (soprano and alto voices), and is one of the oldest boys choirs in Europe. Records indicate that they have been existence since the 14th century. It was absolutely remarkable to be the opening act for this phenomenal group! Hundreds of people filled the basilica in order to hear them perform. Their tone quality was so pure and their performance was absolutely stunning!

Post-concert we enjoyed a lovely lunch on the grounds, took a few group photos, and then departed for Sant Cugat del Valles. Here in this town north of Barcelona, we were able to tour the Sant Cugat Monastery, untouched by war and fully intact since the 9th-Century! The grounds and stained glass of this space were exquisite!

After our brief walking tour, we made our way to L’Aula Magna de la Escola Municipal. This music school educates and trains musicians from ages 4-90+! It was remarkable to participate in a cultural concert exchange with their advanced high school singers and it turned out to be a highlight of the trip for all of the students involved! Music truly connects people on such a deep level, and after 90-minutes of performing for each other and singing a combined finale, we exchanged tearful goodbyes. The community was so grateful to learn that their folk music is beginning to be recognized and performed outside of Catalonia! I believe our presence truly affected them in profound ways!

Upon our return the hotel, most of us took advantage of our final night in Barcelona by taking a stroll along the beach! We were amazed by all that had happened in three days and wishing we had more time in the beautiful Barcelona! The next morning we would depart for Paris!

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