The Linfield College Con- cert Choir did more than just sing at its first spring show- case performance at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 in Ice Auditorium.
The choir department spent 10 days in Costa Rica during January Term break from Feb. 2 to 12. In addition to performing, the students discussed their experiences and shared what they learned about Costa Rican culture and music.
“Essentially, we gave formal concerts almost every night,” said junior Jaimie McDonald, the choir tour manager.
The choir department visited Catholic and Methodist churches and several other locations in Costa Rica where it performed in front of Spanish speaking audiences.
“We shared our music with the people there during formal and informal performances, while transcending the language barriers,” Max Milander said. “Despite many of us not speaking Spanish and performing songs mainly in other languages, the power of music definitely helped us accomplish that goal. Thankfully, we all rose to the occasion night after night and kept a positive attitude no matter what the obstacles were.”
Language barriers were not the only aspect of Costa Rica that the choir depart- ment struggled with.
“There’s this cultural difference in timing,” McDonald said. “They run on ‘tico time,’ essentially, anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour behind schedule on everything. It actually helped us relax a little bit—we’re so used to being busy-bodies and needing to rush, but we had to slow down and learn to wait. It was good for us.”
Trips abroad are opportunities for students to bond and get to know one another in different environments.
“Every choir tour is an incredible opportunity for growth, both individually and as an ensemble,” McDonald said.
In addition to their performances, Linfield students did an exchange with local uni- versities and a children’s hospital. They also had free time in which they spent visiting a cloud forest and hot springs resort.
While in Costa Rica, the choir experienced Calypso music. Calypso is a style of Afro-Caribbean music that is common among most musical forms in Costa Rica.
“It’s hard to pick just one favorite memory out of this amazing trip,” sophomore Charlotte Laport said. “One of my top favorites would be to look out in the audience and to see President Hellie look so proud of us at every concert.”
President Hellie accompanied the choir department on its trip to Costa Rica.
“The choir sang well even at the beginning of the tour, but as it performed for increasingly enthusiastic audiences, it became more confident, relaxed, and unified,” Hellie said. “It was fun to hear them in such diverse venues: in cathedrals and performance halls but also in a city park, a hospital lobby, a cafeteria and even a tropical cloud forest. I was very proud to be with them.”
Sarah Mason can be reached at email@example.com.