ACDA Adventures

Michelle Carfagno '19


I am constantly reminded of how many incredible opportunities the Chorus has given me. The most recent opportunity I was fortunate to have was to travel to Pittsburgh, PA with the Chorus to the American Choral Directors’ Association Conference. The Chorus had been anticipating this weekend for quite some time. We learned of our acceptance back in August, and we were so thrilled considering that out of the 100 or so choirs that applied, we were one of the few to be chosen.

When the day finally came, I was filled with excitement. I was thrilled by the opportunity to go on yet another trip with the Chorus after an extremely successful Gulf Coast Tour and get to know even more Chorus members. We had an early 5:30 AM start to our trip, but everyone was happy to spend more time with one another. Once we arrived in Pittsburgh after a long trip, our day began right away! Some of the highlights of the afternoon were eating lunch with my fellow 2019ers (2019 best class) and watching other participating groups perform in concert before our dinner. It was amazing to see what each group had to offer at the conference. Each of the groups’ sound and repertoire was very different from one another. After dinner, I was fortunate enough to attend a concert put on by Tenebrae, a choir from England and Wales. This performance was unlike any choral performance I had ever seen. The whole performance was coordinated from the lighting to the movement of singers around the entirety of the concert hall. For an hour, I was able to escape and forget about everything else going on in my life.

After the concert, we met up with our amazing hosts for the night! Homestays are one of the best parts of traveling with the Chorus. The couple that hosted us made us feel so comfortable and welcome in both their home and in Pittsburgh. They were also both musicians, so they were very interested in discussing, listening to, and looking at our ACDA pieces. The morning of our concert, they made us an elaborate breakfast and even sent us away with a care package full of goodies! Those goodies came in handy because we had an early start to our performance day!

Now to get to the reason why we came to Pittsburgh in the first place--the performances! The Chorus had two early concerts back to back on Saturday morning. However, even though they were so early, I believe that this is the best that the Chorus has ever sounded in concert. The audience at the ACDA conference was full of musicians that share the same passion for the art of vocal performance as we do, so it was amazing to share our performance with them. I felt myself connecting to each of the pieces in ways I never had before. I finally stopped worrying so much about the notes and rhythms and immersed myself in the music. I also was fortunate enough to have a mini solo in the concert (that was super cool).

After exploring Pittsburgh some more, we boarded the bus once again and made our way back to Cornell. I still find it crazy to think that we were able to do so much in only 42 hours. I will never forget this experience, and I am sure that many other Chorus members will say the same. I am so proud of the Chorus and everything we have been able to accomplish this far. I cannot wait to see what else is in store for us.