The choir of one of the biggest
churches in the United States, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the
Immaculate Conception in Washington, had the honor performing at the
International Festival of Sacred Music and Art.
Latona Director of Music, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception For us
this is a very special event, in order to do a concert particularly in Rome for
such a prestigious festival.
Msgr. Walter Rossi Rector, Basilica of
the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Here
in Rome for example, you see a lot of history, you see a lot of art, and it's
very tangible. Music is something that you don't see but you have to hear. And
unless there are festivals such as this, plus there are concerts that people are
invited to and they're a part of, the musical component of history is not
The choir did two performances, the first during a mass at St.
Peter's Basilica celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Comastri. The second was a
performance in honor of the Immaculate Conception at the Basilica of St. Mary
Major. But neither of these was the most important performance of the year, since
they sang during the vespers when the Pope visited
Dr. Peter Latona Director of Music, Basilica
of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception It
was a very very special event, because unlike the masses at Nationals Stadium or
the stadium in New York, this was a very intimate event, so the choir was
literally 20 feet from the Holy Father during the whole service. It was really
beautiful and it's a lovely space, a sacred setting unlike a stadium. That was
Although they're only in Rome for a week, the trip has not been
all about rehearsals and performances. There are also moments to
Msgr. Walter Rossi Rector, Basilica of the National
Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Prayer has been
an important part of our time in Rome, and then they have to work and practice.
They spend a couple of hours every night practicing. And we've also tried to give
them the opportunity to see Rome and experience Rome. They've gone on half day
tours to see Rome, and of course there's always time to have a good Roman meal.
There is no rest for the choir when they get back to the United States. With
the beginning of Advent, they will be performing at two masses every Sunday.
They will also be increasing their practice schedule for the two big
performances during the Christmas holiday season.