Madrigals travel to England


Madrigals and A Ca-Bella members performed at the church of St. Nicholas in Cottesmore, England on March 12. Courtesy of Lori Wilson

Forty two members of the Madrigals and A Ca-Bella choirs from grades eight through twelve traveled to England for ten days over March break. These students had the opportunity to visit and perform at  the Woldingham and Beechwood schools, which are both part of the Sacred Heart network.
After a seven hour plane ride, students gathered their luggage and headed off to the Woldingham School for a choir practice and a joint concert with the two other Sacred Heart schools. The end of the concert showcased three songs that all of the choirs sang together. Choir Director for both the Madrigals and A Ca-Bella, Ms. Annette Etheridge, helped to coordinate the finale and thought it was a success.
“I felt singing the three finale pieces was a wonderful way to show how the three networks school can work together to create beautiful music,” Ms. Etheridge said.
After the concert, some students made their way over to the Woldingham dorms, while others were picked up by their host families. Both the students boarding in the dorms and the girls being hosted by families had a memorable experience the next four nights.
“Staying in the dorms made me feel like I was part of the Woldingham School family for a few short days,” eighth grader Morgan Johnson said. “If I went to Woldingham I would board there.”
The girls on home stays for the weekend also enjoyed themselves. Freshmen Tess Driscoll and Lydia Currie were hosted for the weekend by a family from Russia.
“The two girls that were my age are Julie and Lissa,” Tess said. “We quickly became good friends and had such a great time together. They were all so welcoming and friendly and I miss them so much.” 

After an eventful weekend for both the girls in the dorms and home stays, all Sacred Heart students saw each other at school on Monday. Each Sacred Heart student was paired up with a Woldingham girl for a tour of the school. Everyone went to morning meeting and then joined their guides for the rest of their school day. For eighth grader Morgan Johnson, visiting the Woldingham classes was a highlight of the England trip.
“I loved going to their classes and seeing the similarities and differences between our school and their school,” Morgan said. “I went to mostly science classes that day but I know other girls went to mostly arts classes, depending on what the student was interested in.”
The next three days were spent in London, where the Sacred Heart students and chaperones took a trip to the English National Opera to see the Barber of Seville, as well as to the West End to see Wicked

“The actors in Wicked were amazing and the singing was incredible,” Tess said. “After the performance, we got to meet the actors and got their autographs. I can’t wait to hopefully go back again.”
The trip ended with a visit to Digby Stuart College to perform for the Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ) staying there, as well as an opportunity to see some of the Sacred Heart archives. The nuns gathered in their common room, where the two choirs performed their concert songs. The students then had the opportunity to chat with the sisters for a little while.
“Everyone was so appreciative and I enjoyed seeing the girls interact with the nuns,” Ms. Etheridge said.
After this mini concert, the girls made their way to Sr. Elizabeth’s room where they sang Happy Birthday to her at her bedside since she turned 90 that day.  She also requested for them to sing “Mater Admirabilis,” which was not originally part of the repertoire.
“I was very proud of the Madrigals for remembering the song and granting her wish to hear it.  It was a very touching moment,” Ms. Etheridge said.