By Sarah Tapscott ’15
In July 2017 I had the opportunity to go to Dublin, Ireland for a week and sing at Christ Church Cathedral with the Choral Arts Society of Frederick, directed by Hood’s choir director, Lynn Staininger. We were invited by MCI (Music Celebrations International), which provides opportunities for musical performances around the world! I love to travel and hadn’t gone to Europe since my freshman year at Hood, so I knew I had to go! What made this experience special was the ability to share it with fellow Hood alumni in Choral Arts. Of the thirty-five vocalists that went, five amazing Hood alum women sang alongside me: Marivic Sison ’94, M.A.’00, Michelle Sison ’97, Jessica Kehler Miller ’11, Meghan Tomlin ’11, and Jordan Garvey ’14. Even my boyfriend, Owen Rosier ’16, came along to experience it with us!
We did so much in the short week we were there! We toured Guinness right after our eight-hour flight (exhausted but determined), saw the amazing green hills of County Wicklow, sang for hours every day as we rehearsed with the other one hundred and eighty voices, and experienced a lot of Irish history while we toured Trinity College, Avoca Weaving Mill, and the city. There was a moment in Glendalough—an old monastic city in Ireland—where we sang “Amazing Grace” in one of Ireland’s oldest Early-Christian cathedrals. This was a couple days into the trip and we were really grateful for the amazing fresh air. Though the old ruins had no roof, it was such a humbling and fun experience to sing in such a historic place.
Thinking about this and many other wonderful highlights of my trip made me realize that I wouldn’t be in Choral Arts if it wasn’t for the Hood Choir. When I started at Hood in Fall 2011, I only hoped that I’d make wonderful, long-lasting friends through this hobby and group. Well, that happened and more! The Hood College Choir has a large and tight-knit group of alumni that I know is unlike any other because of our beloved interest and passion. Because of Hood’s Messiah and Choral Arts, I met Jess, Meghan and Marivic who had graduated before me. Jordan became one of my best friends and we remain close years later. Hood’s Choir, I believe, is one of the few organizations that asks for and encourages the ongoing participation and inclusion of its alum.
Hood’s Choir is celebrating seventy years of singing Handel’s “Messiah” this fall. Alumni are invited to sing alongside current students, faculty, and community members. “Messiah,” and the inclusion of alumni, are important traditions to the choir because it has been a crucial part of Hood’s history. It’s more to the school than a dance and concert weekend.
If you’d like to learn about the Choral Arts Society of Frederick, a choir that’s been a part of Frederick’s music community for seventy-four years, please visit our website: www.casof.org.
Choir starts soon!