COLUMBIA, Ky. -- A group of Lindsey
Wilson College students recently took a musical journey of a
lifetime. The 13 LWC students participated in the Rome
International Choral Festival in late June.
The students joined more than 150 other American singers to
give concerts at St. Peter's Basilica and the Basilica of Saint
Maria Sopra Minerva.
"It's really hard to put into words what this experience
means to our students and choral program," said LWC Associate
Professor of Music and Director of Choral Programs Gerald Chafin, who led the tour. "It was such
a tremendous experience that broadened our students' perspectives
in innumerable ways."
The LWC group also toured Lugano, Switzerland, as well as the
Italian cities of Florence, Milan, Rome, Siena, Venice and
"I know that later I'm going to remember a lot of things from
this trip, but right now my head is still spinning because it was
just an incredible experience," said LWC student Allison Chafin of
Some of the famous sights the LWC group explored included the
balcony in Verona mentioned in William Shakespeare'sRomeo and Juliet, ancient Roman ruins and the
Vatican City. They also saw Pope Benedict XVI from a couple hundred
yards when the pontiff made a public appearance to attend the
funeral of a Vatican official.
"Overwhelming" was the adjective several other students used
to describe the experience of touring and performing in Switzerland
"It's still kind of overwhelming. I don't know if I've taken
it all in yet," said LWC Singer Andrew Ferguson of Columbia. "We
toured six or seven hours a day, so we saw six or seven hours of
stuff a day for eight days, plus we gave some great
LWC had a total of 15 voices in the 172-member choir: the 13
LWC students plus alumnus Tyler McCubbins and Gerald
Adding to the experience for the LWC group was that student
Chelsea Pike of Campbellsville, Ky., was invited to perform a solo
at a performance at the Basilica of Saint Maria Sopra Minerva in
"Singing at the Basilica of Saint Maria place was one of the
most meaningful experiences we had," Ferguson said. "The fact that
Chelsea got to do a solo made it more meaningful because we had one
of our own in the spotlight."
To make the trip the students paid a good portion of the cost
with the remainder covered by donations from LWC alumni and
"The fact that they want to see Lindsey Wilson prosper and
for us to get the most out of our college experience really made a
difference to us," Allison Chafin said. "I'm just so touched when
people who have been blessed financially use some of their money to
change other people's lives. It makes me want to do the same thing
for the college later in my life."
The LWC students who made the trip were: Trey Ball of
Strunk, Ky.; John Brown of Albany, Ky.; Jacob Bryant of Louisville,
Ky.; Allison Chafin of Columbia; Amber Clark of Kennesaw, Ga.;
Kailyn Conner of Albany, Ky.; Andrew Ferguson of Columbia; Haley
Hicks of Edmonton, Ky.; Gloria Moore of Columbia; Chelsea Pike of
Campbellsville, Ky.; Emily Ramage of Columbia; Christian Talley of
Columbia; and Lydia Tiller of Columbia.