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The Pope's choir looks for new voices

2010-02-04

Giuseppe Liberto
Director, Pontifical Sistine Choir

“Music is the purest form of sacred art, and in a liturgy this sacred art turns into holy art.”

Behind the voices, are hours of practice. The choir is made up of 20 adults and 35 children. The adults, who practice daily, are all professionals hired by the Vatican. Meanwhile, the kids study at the Chapel’s College. Along with the usual math and history classes, they also take voice lessons, classes in vocal technique and repertoire.

Giuseppe Liberto
Director, Pontifical Sistine Choir

“This heartfelt relationship between young and old is very special. If this bond didn’t exists we wouldn’t be able to sing in harmony.”

In fact, one of the biggest challenges the choir faces is finding kids who want to study at the college and form part of the choir. Each year the choir conducts auditions at parishes and other colleges to recruit new students.

Giuseppe Liberto
Director, Pontifical Sistine Choir

“The problem  is a society that is a unchristianized, a society that is too superficial. Only a few have the gift to make true art, but with this social situation, that makes our search for great talent even more difficult.”
 
While the choirs main role is to perform at all of the pope’s celebrations, it also puts on sacred music concerts.

The songs vary with the time of the year. But the base of most of their songs is the Gregorian chant ancient and Renaissance polyphony. Then the director adds new compositions to the songs.

Giuseppe Liberto has been part of the pope’s choir for 13 years, 13 years of living historic moments.

Giuseppe Liberto
Director,  Pontifical Sistine Choir

“Pope John Paul II’s funeral was a very emotional time. But before his death, we witnessed the beatification of  Father Pio and the canonization of many other saints. Those were all beautiful moments.”

The next project will take these 50 voices to Mexico, where the choir will offer concerts in theatres and a number of church’s across the country including Mexico City, Guadalajara and Puebla. A tradition that started more than 10 years ago in Japan, far away from the walls of the Vatican.

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