Concert Choir Invited to Perform at Vatican

concertchoirFifty-nine local students will be traveling to Italy in February to perform at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

The St. John Paul II Concert Choir, comprised of students from Pope John Paul II High School and St. Francis Xavier Preparatory School, was asked to sing at the Vatican by the head of the Julian Choir of St. Peter’s after listening to the group’s professionally produced CD released last year. The two schools merged in 2013.

“It’s going to be a very intensely wonderful experience for these students,” said choir director Richard Fish Jr. “Really it will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I believe they earned it.”

The performance is part of broader tour to include other venues in Rome, including a show at a Mass for the United States Naval Base at Naples, Italy. Of the 72 students in the choir, 59 are planning to make the trip.

Money raised from a pancake breakfast planned for Sunday at the St. Joan of Arc Parish Hall in Orleans will be used to benefit the choir and help those students who have already committed to the trip, Fish said.

The fundraiser is hosted by the Knights of Columbus, Council 3384, based in Orleans, which decided to support the choir after receiving a letter from the school detailing plans for the trip several weeks ago.

“We thought it was a good cause, especially if it helps give the kids an opportunity to visit another country,” said William Weil, a past Grand Knight for the Knights of Columbus.

Mikayla Barreiro, 18, of Yarmouth Port, the choir’s president, said she and her peers are excited for the opportunity.

“What’s so special about this is it just happened,” she said. “We’ve just been asked out of the blue.”

Mikayla, a senior at Pope John Paul II High School, said the choir is a tight-knit group of friends who practice together several times a week. They have performed at schools, hospitals and churches across Cape Cod.

Fish said the choir tours in New York City every year, where the students get to work with professional Broadway actors and performers.

“We run a program where they get exposed to the best in the fields,” he said. “That’s the whole purpose of what we’re trying to do with the performing arts program at the school.”

But they still need to raise several thousand dollars, he said, to pay for the expenses of the trip.

The choir will host a number of performances in the coming weeks, including a Christmas Concert Friday at 7 p.m. at St. John Paul II High School in Hyannis, and on Saturday, Dec. 17, at the 4 p.m. Mass at Christ the King Parish in Mashpee.

Cape Cod Times (click to read online)
December 2, 2016

By Tanner Stening
Contributing writer