During the month of May, 34 members of the Southwestern Adventist University Singers traveled through Spain and Portugal on their annual music tour. The group created lifelong memories as they performed in cathedrals, took part in a choral festival, and experienced the food, sights, and sounds of two culturally rich nations.
This recent trip is just one of many tours that the Department of Music at Southwestern Adventist University has undertaken. Over the past few years, their travels have brought students to Norway, Sweden, Finland, France, Germany, South Korea, Austria, Slovakia, Switzerland, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Italy. Additionally, regular recitals and concerts on campus and across the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex provide students ample occasions throughout the school year to develop their God-given talents.
Music Department Chair, Dr. Devon Howard, reported, “Spain and Portugal are vibrant places with rich music cultures. Because many of our students speak Spanish and Portuguese, we had the opportunity to relate to our audiences on a much deeper level. Exposing our students to a wide variety of people and cultures is an important part of our commitment to prepare them to be well-rounded and well-prepared contributors to society. It is all part of what makes music study at Southwestern Adventist University exciting and unique.”
The group enveloped themselves in the local cultures visiting cities such as Porto, Lisbon, and Toledo. From trying ethnic food to visiting historic cathedrals and from attempting to learn a few words of Portuguese and Spanish to connecting with and learning local practices. Tours such as this, extend the university’s mission of providing a well-rounded education experience. For freshman music major, Brianne Teich, this was her first time overseas. She shares, “I never thought I would have the chance to travel abroad, so touring Spain and Portugal felt like a dream! It was amazing getting to experience the world’s cultures. I am so thankful that Southwestern Adventist University is a place where I can travel with friends while doing what I love most: singing with my choir family.”
Junior music major, Lindsey Johnson, expressed how blessed she and her fellow musicians felt to be able to connect with the locals who came to hear them sing. “The greatest reward from the tour occurred at the end of each concert when we got to meet the audience members. Everyone was so appreciative and excited.” shared Johnson. “A lady came to me after a concert and said that our music brought her to the feet of God. Those moments mean the world to us. It is the reason we rehearse hours upon hours. It is the reason we wake up before dawn to catch lengthy flights. It is the reason we sing our hearts out, regardless of sickness.”
Early on in the sixteen-day tour, the University Singers had the opportunity to participate in the City of Aveiro Municipal Choir Festival in Portugal. Singing in Europe’s grand cathedrals was breathtaking, and the opportunity students had to network with musicians from Portugal and France, learn from an international group of professors, and collaborate on a joint concert added a wonderful highlight to this trip.
This is the tenth year that Southwestern Adventist University’s Department of Music has sponsored an international tour. The department prides itself in preparing the next generation of musicians through a well-rounded university experience and the coming year will be filled with many more events. For more information about Southwestern Adventist University’s Department of Music or about any of its tours, recitals, or programs, go to music.swau.edu or email firstname.lastname@example.org.