Archive for May, 2015


May 30th, 2015 by pjlosq18

Hello friends,

My name is Phil Losquadro, rising soph/your favorite tenor, and I’m here to fill y’all in about our second day in Buenos Aires (the 28th). Get ready!

After a busy first day of traveling, singing, and celebrating Nina (aka the Beyonce of choir)’s 20th birthday, we were happy to rest and recharge for the next one. We started our second day of with a tour of the Teatro Colon, a world-famous opera house renowned for its incredible (and Pavarotti-approved) acoustics. The interior was absolutely stunning, and we were even allowed to view a rehearsal of the Teatro’s production of Swan Lake. (Side note: we are now taking bets on how long it will be until Laurel* makes her debut there.)

After the tour, we walked down La calle Florida. It’s this incredible street that goes for blocks and blocks, and we took some time to look around/use whatever amount of Spanish we remembered from high school with the locals. Later, we found ourselves in an interesting bookstore that was converted from an old theatre. No hablo mucho español, así no puedo leer los libros, but it was super nice to look around.

The big event of the day, though, was our workshop and rehearsal. We met with El Arranque, an orchestral group for middle and high school students in Buenos Aires. Many of these kids come from low-income families, and the orchestra provides them with a way to foster an appreciation for performing arts. We performed a few songs for them, and had the Arranque kids join us for a vocal improvisation exercise (Carley’s riffs were golden as always). Their director (also named David!) had his orchestra play for us, and he and David (of the Harris variety) led their respective groups for a joint performance of “Shenandoah.” It was also a really nice surprise to see our fellow Crusaders who are studying abroad in Buenos Aires!

The passion that El Arranque expressed was tangible. It was evident that they loved spending their time making music, and they were so friendly and welcoming. I enjoyed seeing how, although we may come from different places, music can overcome any language barrier. It was an inspiring moment, for them and for us, and hopefully one of many to come on this trip.

I’ll be back on June 1st! Till then,

*Laurel Mehaffey (noun): 1. Resident Vocologist of HCC. 2. Professional tree climber. 3. Prima donna-to-be. 4. Title pun creator.

David leading El Arranque and the choir in a vocal improv

David leading El Arranque and the choir in a vocal improv

Lunchtime feat. Rose and Emma

Lunchtime feat. Rose and Emma

Swan Lake at the Teatro Colon

Swan Lake at the Teatro Colon

Double Davids!

Double Davids!

21 people, an orchestra, vocology, success!

May 30th, 2015 by jdharris

Usually when you see a choir performing with an orchestra you see a huge group of singers.  Even professional choirs usually hire 40+, but 21 collegiate (mostly underclassmen) against a full orchestra?!  Yeah, that doesn’t happen often, but last night, our HC College Choir not only held their own, they were glorious, singing out over the Universidad del Salvador orchestra (a very fine band) just like pros.

How did this happen?  Teaching and dedication.  Going into the spring semester, our vocologist (voice scientist), Laurel Mehaffey, and myself set out with the goal to teach the choir how to sing operatically.  That’s a goal that most people reserve for decades of study, and we had 45 days.  We condensed the main elements of operatic singing into individual parts, explained them scientifically, and worked to help the students gain the physical sensations necessary to recreate them.  The singers were profoundly dedicated to this process, and they nailed it.  So much so that yesterday with their vocal tracts aligned and stabilized, and their articulators working together in time, vibrato synched up, breath pressure engaged, they produced all the right high frequencies to float their sound out over that huge band, and simultaneously make every word intelligible. Perhaps we should write a book “How To Sing Opera In 45 Days: A day in the life of the HC Choir”?

I’ve never been so happy to work with a group of singers.  I even got so carried away, that I lost my baton, which flew across the room and landed at the feet of the Buenos Aires Minister of Culture, who, kindly, returned it to me just in time for the final crescendo.


~David Harris, director


Strangeness and Charm

May 27th, 2015 by Julia Dunn

Extranjeros: the Spanish word for foreigners which, oddly enough, especially when pronounced with a thick Argentinian accent, sounds like the English word, strange.

After an 11 hour flight, this was the word that marked our entrance into Argentina. “Extranjeros aquí:” two simple words which were printed in all white capital letters, with a footnoted sized explanation bellow. “Welcome to Argentina, just so you know, you’re a stranger here,” it seemed to be saying. Even without the translation, I knew what the words meant and of course that everything would be different once we left that airport. Gone was the small comfortable word of Holy Cross where everyone wears boat shoes and Vineyard Vines. In it’s place, was a terminal plastered with political ads and trees that looked crooked compared to HC’s upright Elms. It was as though literally everything was strange and different. Even the air felt different in my lungs.

After those 11 hours though, this “strangeness,” this new and totally different world, was something that I was willing to embrace. Okay, granted I probably could have used a few more hours of sleep, we all could have, but there was something in this strangeness that made us all alert. We each seemed to have that classic “Oh. My. God.” moment nonetheless. Forget the fact that there’s only 2 (maybe 3) hours of sleep in our systems, that’s irrelevant. This place, Argentina, is so new and different that we force ourselves to stay awake … even though at 4:07 AM there isn’t much you can see.

As we move onto our hotel and through the city, we learn just how “strange” everything here really is: the coffee is infinitely better than Kimball’s, the food consists mostly of different meats that we’ve never been served for breakfast before, you can’t turn a corner without the sight of something deeply political, everything is (not surprisingly) in Spanish and there’s a completely different culture. Our tour guide, Valeria, calls it a “mixture of New York City and France,” but it feels like something entirely its own. As we listened to the cries of protesters, walked through the church where Pope Francis was formerly the Archbishop, and sang “Lux Aeterna” in front of the grave of Eva Perona (Evita as most of us know her), none of us could deny the uniqueness of this experience. Like I said, there’s even something in the air that makes it all feel so movingly different. It’s like the blood of the city starts to run through your veins with each step you take. In an odd way, despite being an “Extranjero,” you can’t help but feel the heaviness of the city’s history and gasp at it’s beauty.

Yes, we may not be a part of this city in the way the natives are, and yes, it is all strangely new to us, but being a stranger and seeing all of this through our eyes is something beautifully positive. It’s a new experience for all of us and something so different from what we’re used to that none of us would dare to call this type of strange something negative. Now, as we wait for our 4:30 gig, where we have the chance to really meet and work with native musicians, we’ll all start off as strangers once again. But, much like our relationship to the city, as our time together continues, we’ll form a bond that regardless of how well we know each other will undoubtedly be beautiful in its newness.

– Julia Dunn, ’16

Blessings and Backseat Blogging

May 26th, 2015 by arouel16

Well, here we are! After an entire year of preparation, fundraising, and rehearsals, we are on our way to Argentina! I can’t believe this day has already arrived. When David told us last year that we would travel to Buenos Aires, I didn’t know what to expect; not only have I never traveled to South America, but I can’t even speak Spanish (luckily, we have several Spanish speakers in the tour choir!) But as I sit here on the bus on the way to JFK for our flight this afternoon, I can’t help but feel an enormous sense of pride and confidence in what we have accomplished this year in preparation for this trip. This afternoon, Holy Cross Chaplain Norm Gouin blessed the choir with a prayer before we left the Hogan Campus Center. Norm’s blessing was a great way to stop and think about all those who have supported the choir this past year and made this tour possible. And now we just have to wait for our 12 HOUR flight…Argentina, here we come!

Adam Ouellet ’16



Watch Us, anytime

May 24th, 2015 by jdharris

One of my favorite parts about being the choir director is getting to go back and see the amazing work that the choir has done all year.  It’s pretty inspiring to hear their voices changing, and watch the passion and artistry that went into each concert.  Thanks to Tim Rice ’16, the EBoard’s Media Chair, you can enjoy our year too, whenever you like, by visiting our YouTube channel.  There are many highlights from the year up now, and more to join over the summer.

Like this one, the Chamber Singers performing the premiere of Colby Baker’s ’15 “Soneto IX“.


~David Harris, choir director




Argentina Here We Come!

May 14th, 2015 by jdharris


At the scene of our last rehearsal before the choir’s first international tour in nearly a decade. They sound amazing! It’s going to be a great week of singing and exploring Buenos Aires and Cordoba.


~David Harris, Choir Director

Celebrating Two Milestones

May 14th, 2015 by jdharris

As the 2014-2015 year winds to a close, we have a lot to celebrate. Among the many exciting developments, we have the new Catherine Award for Service and Leadership inductees, Julia Dunn and Abe Ross, both of whom have been selfless in their commitment and leadership throughout the year. Julia’s keen insights as Board Chair, her sensitivity to group dynamics, and deft organizational skills, and Abe’s prodigious musical talents as Assistant Conductor helped the group solidify and grow in unpredictable ways.


The EBoard, after two years of soul searching and organizational thought, have completed and ratified a constitution that outlines the governance of the choir. Thanks to EBoard members Julia Dunn, Adam Ouellet, Diana Hurtado, Tim Rice, Rose Fusco, Sloane Burns, Nicole Costa, Hannah Gabriel, and Ally Rancourt for their service, and to last year’s EBoard for getting us started.


Congratulations to everyone!


~David Harris, Choir Director