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Rome Reports

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American Choir Performs At The Vatican

Dr. Peter LatonaDirector of Music, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate ConceptionFor us this is a very special event, in order to do a concert particularly in Rome for such a prestigious festival.Msgr. Walter RossiRector, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate ConceptionHere 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 promoted. 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 Washington.Dr. Peter LatonaDirector of Music, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate ConceptionIt 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 special. Although they?re only in Rome for a week, the trip has not been all about rehearsals and performances. There are also moments to relax.Msgr. Walter RossiRector, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate ConceptionPrayer 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.