Ed McQuade, Choral Director, conducting The Buford Community Girls Chorus at the Pantheon.

The Buford Community Girls Chorus just returned from their international, week-long choir tour. From June 7 – June 14, 2017, the group made three stops, providing concerts throughout Italy - Venice, Florence, and at the Vatican in Rome.

The Buford Community Girls Chorus at the Vatican with the former conductor of the Sistine Chapel Choir.Ed McQuade, Choral Director for The Buford Community Girls Chorus and the music teacher at Buford Middle School, reflected on the trip. “After our audition video and audio submissions were reviewed, we were selected to sing abroad. For the past two years, we prepared our music selections, held two benefit concerts, and organized a variety of fundraisers. We were appreciative of the Buford Lanier Women’s Club, who also provided financial support for the trip.”

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The choir, consisting of thirty-three girls, began their tour in Venice. “We sang for the Friday night Mass at St. Mark’s Basilica. While in Florence, we held a concert at a historic church in the area. In Rome, we sang at the noon Mass at the Vatican and even received approval to conduct an unannounced concert at the Pantheon.” McQuade said, “One tourist in Florence asked us to come to sing in his country –Portugal!” 

The Buford Community Girls Chorus just returned from their international, week-long choir tour. From June 7 – June 14, 2017, the group made three stops, providing concerts throughout Italy - Venice, Florence, and at the Vatican in Rome.

The Buford Community Girls Chorus at the Vatican with the former conductor of the Sistine Chapel Choir.Ed McQuade, Choral Director for The Buford Community Girls Chorus and the music teacher at Buford Middle School, reflected on the trip. “After our audition video and audio submissions were reviewed, we were selected to sing abroad. For the past two years, we prepared our music selections, held two benefit concerts, and organized a variety of fundraisers. We were appreciative of the Buford Lanier Women’s Club, who also provided financial support for the trip.”

The choir, consisting of thirty-three girls, began their tour in Venice. “We sang for the Friday night Mass at St. Mark’s Basilica. While in Florence, we held a concert at a historic church in the area. In Rome, we sang at the noon Mass at the Vatican and even received approval to conduct an unannounced concert at the Pantheon.” McQuade said, “One tourist in Florence asked us to come to sing in his country –Portugal!” 

Since the group was not guaranteed pianos at each location, the choir’s repertoire consisted of sacred a Capella music (songs without instrumental accompaniment). “I chose challenging music including a piece written by the Italian composer, Palestrina, which he wrote for the Sistine Chapel Choir in 1584,” said McQuade. “The most memorable moment was when we were at the Vatican; one of the oldest priests was celebrating Mass while we sang. He recognized the piece by Palestrina. It turned out that he was the former choral director of the Sistine Chapel Choir. He was so happy we sang this song. He even posed for pictures with our group.”

The Pantheon in Rome, Italy.The Pantheon in Rome, Italy.A total of seventy-three people participated in the adventure abroad, to include parents. “There was a good mixture of family time and structured organized tours. Overall, it was a very memorable and positive experience for everyone.” McQuade added that the group has conducted numerous community outreach events domestically. “We have performed the National Anthem before sporting events and sang at Carnegie Hall in New York City.”

Music is McQuade’s passion, having sung in the Atlanta Boy Choir and in the Young Singers of Callenwolde as a youth and later with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus. McQuade, who is also the 2017 Buford City School System Teacher of the Year, said, “The international tour to Italy concluded our season. Our new season begins this fall.” On average, there are thirty members in The Buford Community Girls Chorus – from rising 7th - rising 12th graders.  Membership is by invitation-only as positions become available.