The Mississippi State University Singers are performing in Paris and Normandy during a nine-day international trip to France.
The 30 members arrived in the French capital Tuesday [May 27], said Gary Packwood, director of choral activities. Notre Dame Cathedral, L'église de la Madeleine, Saint-Suplice and the American cemetery at Omaha Beach are among the locales at which they will perform, he added.
He said the student group has practiced for about eight weeks on a repertoire that includes both American and French selections.
"Some works include 'Notre Pere' and 'Ubi Caritas,' both by French born composer Maurice Duruflé," he said. "The program will conclude with a set of African-American spirituals, which include 'Cool of Day,' 'There's A Man Goin' Round,' 'Old Time Religion' and 'Walk Together Children.'"
In addition to performing, ensemble members will visit some of France's most famous sites, including the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysées and its Arc de Triomphe, Louvre Museum, Palace of Versailles, Monet Gardens in Giverny and Mont Saint-Michel, among others. A cruise on the Seine River also is scheduled.
He said the group's international tour is the first of many being planned every three or four years.
"This is the first international-travel opportunity for members of the choir, so I expect that it will change lives, open their eyes and provide a global collegiate experience like nothing else," he said. "Our students are enhanced by globally experiencing music and art."
Packwood, who often teaches in Europe, Asia and South America, said international experiences such as this support MSU's emphasis on globalizing its students.
"Our students are culturally enhanced and are changed in a positive way, a musical way, as better global citizens," he said. "We'll also contribute a taste of Western culture and music to the French audiences."
For more about choral activities, visit www.statesings.com/State_Sings/Choral_Home.html.
See www.msstate.edu to discover more about MSU.