William & Mary

W&M Choir and Botetourt Chamber Singers Head Overseas

W&M ChoirThis summer William and Mary's beloved Choir, along with the Botetourt Chamber Singers, aka "The Bots," will have the opportunity to take their talents to Europe as part of an international tour program.

From May 13 to June 1, members of the Choir (under the leadership of Dr. James Armstrong) and the Botetourts (directed by Dr. Jamie Bartlett)--59 students in all--will perform in Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. Every three years the choirs tour internationally for three weeks. Music faculty member Thomas Marshall will join the choirs as organist and accompanist, as he has for the past three tours.

On their trip the choir will feature songs by Hailstork, Burleigh, and Bach, among others. The Botetourts will be performing smaller ensemble works by Brahms, Palestrina, and Kverno, to name a few. Each group has a tango to sing as well. A number of performances will be hosted by university choirs with whom the W&M choirs will sing jointly.

"We are very excited about the prospect of singing in famous cathedrals in Spain and Portugal, and, also, the prospect of exploring the desert and singing in Morocco for the local communities there is exciting," says tour manager Rob Landicho '08, who is a member of the W&M Choir and the Bots. "In addition to sharing music, we'll be able to sightsee, try local cuisine and other recreational activities, and even do a little hiking and camping in Morocco."

Although a great opportunity for students, it isn't free. The cost is around $4,800 per student, offset by $1,000 per student in grant aid. That means students must raise $3,800 each to be able to go on the trip. In light of that, they engage in some fundraising efforts, such as the Botetourt's yearly Gala that was held Feb. 2 at the Kimball.

Throughout the academic year the Choir, which began in 1922, makes over 35 appearances a year singing concerts as well as appearing at many of the formal events of the College and Alumni Association, including Convocation, Homecoming, Sunset Ceremony, Yule Log, Charter Day, and Commencement.

Started in 1975, the Botetourt Chamber Singers began as an offshoot of the William and Mary Choir. They have since broken off and formed a completely separate group with more than 20 performances of their own each year.

"The publicity agents will tell you that the 'purpose' of the tour is to learn from and share our music with other cultures," says Bots member Cassandra Powers '08. "But for the students, it is also a time of unparalleled adventure, a time to create stories with our beloved friends that we will never forget."

Learn more about the choirs and their performance times in the United States and abroad. You can also purchase their newly-released double CD of Haydn's The Creation by visiting the Choir's fundraising webpage.