Date: 2018/06/05

Great Falls College Community Choir performs in Italy

Altar and Crucifix in the Gothic Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence Italy. Photo credit: Heather Palermo

FLORENCE, Italy – On Monday evening, members of the Great Falls College Community Choir filed into the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence, Italy, and gazed up at the tall stained-glass windows, the large frescos decorating the walls and the dramatic archways. Then, their voices rose as conductor John Rutter began directing the choir and a full symphony in his Requiem.

"John Rutter is arguably the most famous living choral conductor/composer of our time," said Great Falls College MSU Choir Directory Cynthia Stevens. "He is internationally known."

Twenty-three members of the Great Falls College Community Choir performed in Monday's concert. They joined members of choruses from throughout the world to make up a full choir for the show. The choir was joined by the Orchestra da Camera di Fiorentina.

"Performing the work of a living composer under his direction was an amazing experience," Stevens said. "And performing in such a dramatic place as the Basilica di Santa Croce was just breathtaking."

Rutter's Requiem Mass, written in 1985, combines choral and orchestral voices to create a lush musical setting. Using both Latin and English texts, the work blends traditional with modern to create a beautiful and unique interpretation of the Requiem Mass.

"It's a beautiful and moving piece of music," Stevens said.

The choir's performance in Italy is part of a trip organized by The Center for Lifelong Learning at Great Falls College MSU.

The 23 choir members are joined by seven community members and are traveling to several cities in Italy, including Florence, Verona, Venice and Lake Garda.

"We are very excited to offer our first travel abroad opportunity through Lifelong Learning," said Heather Palermo, director of the Center for Lifelong Learning at GFC MSU. "Through Lifelong Learning continuing education can happen all over the world."

In addition to the performance, travelers have visited historic churches, toured the Florence Duomo and participated in Italian cooking classes.

"This is an amazing and memorable experience for choir members and community members," Palermo said. "Studying history is one thing, but seeing that history and the historical places you've studied brings learning to an entirely different level."

"This trip is incredible," said Deb Evans, who is one of the travelers. "We've had some amazing tours of Florence with local guides, and we have learned so much about the culture, food, architecture and history of Italy."

The choir will perform again on Wednesday. For the second concert, they will perform Rossini's Stabat Mater. The concert will commemorate the 150th anniversary of Rossini's death.

Wednesday's performance will be streamed live on the Great Falls College MSU Lifelong Learning Facebook page beginning around 12:30 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time.

Be sure to "Like" the page by searching "Great Falls College MSU Lifelong Learning" at to view a recording of Monday's performance, and to catch Wednesday's performance live.

To learn more about the Center for Lifelong Learning or the Great Falls College Community Choir, visit or call 406.268.3734.

For more information, contact:

Erin Granger
Marketing Specialist
Phone: 406.771.4314

Lewis Card
Executive Director—Development, Communications & Marketing
Phone: 406-771-4412

⇦ Back to list page
Record Number: 589