Eben Trobaugh, Assistant Director of IT and Music Instructor
For nearly 19 years, Hammond has been, and continues to be, a place of comfort for my family and me. However, as many of you know, Hammond has a mantra, “place students outside of their comfort zones”. No doubt this trip embodies that mantra. Performing in a foreign country is, even under the most ideal circumstances, a very uncomfortable situation. Add to that, 40+ hour flight delays without a bed in which to sleep, followed by a brief tour and an immediate performance as the mass choir at St. Peter’s Basilica, and you have an uncomfortable learning experience that absolutely takes the cake. And yet, there were smiles. There are many reasons, but I can’t help but focus on this… chorus.
The very definition of chorus is an organized group of singers, especially one that takes part in church services or performs in public. In my opinion, this definition hardly begins to explain a chorus. There is so much more happening than meets the eye. While the singers in the Select Ensemble may not understand it yet, their performance at St. Paul’s Within the Walls Episcopal Church in Rome, undoubtedly had some of them wondering what they felt happening. Last evening, I witnessed our singers truly accettare il disagio, (accept the discomfort). Singing in a chorus teaches singers compassion, empathy, and discipline, among other things; and without these skills, they would not have been able take the discomfort of the last four days and completely own it. Sure, they understand that the performance sounded great, but I think that this group is beginning to see that they are a part of something so much bigger than themselves… a chorus breathing life into symbols and lyrics on a page, projecting compassion and empathy and discipline to all those who hear, and making a deeper connection to humanity.