Boy choristers welcomed 'with open arms' during stops on U.S. tour

IMAGE: CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn

By Jose Montoya

(CNS) — Since the 13th century, the Escolania de Montserrat has sung daily for
pilgrims at Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey in Catalonia, Spain.

summer they brought their sacred music — some of it dating back to the Middle
Ages — to New Jersey, New York, Washington and California. Their U.S. tour
June 28 to July 7 included their debut on the West Coast.

Escolania de Montserrat belongs to a Benedictine monastery one hour from
Barcelona called the Abbey of Montserrat. The choir is comprised of 50 boys.
They leave leave
their homes between the ages of 9 and 14 and spend four or five years at

is the spiritual center of Catalonia,” said the prefect of Escolania de
Montserrat, Brother Sergi d’Assis, in a July 7 email to Catholic News Service.
“Every year, 2 million and a half pilgrims and visitors from all over the world

visitors from around the globe come to hear the choir perform.

mission of the Escolania de Montserrat is to sing for the Virgin of Montserrat
and for the pilgrims we receive on the mountain of Montserrat,” Brother d’Assis

the choir travels, they sing music that represents their culture.

specialty is sacred music,” Brother d’Assis said. When we visit other
countries, we always sing Catalan traditional song, because it is part of our
cultural identity.”

choir began its U.S. tour in New Jersey with a performance at Christ Episcopal Church in
Newton, New Jersey. Afterward, the boys made their way to New York to sing at
St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Washington, the boys choir performed at the Basilica of the National Shrine of
the Immaculate Conception at a Mass and sang at Holy Trinity Church in
Georgetown as part of a “Serenade” for President John F. Kennedy to
mark his birth 100 years ago.

group’s Washington trip continued with a performance at the Kennedy Center and
finished with a performance on the Fourth of July at the U.S. Capitol.

the tour on the East Coast, they made their way to San Francisco for a performance
at Grace Episcopal Cathedral.

in San Francisco, the boys visited the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.

finish the U.S. tour, the group performed in Pasadena, California, at the
Pasadena Presbyterian Church.

group enjoyed sharing its music and culture with others during its trip.

experience has been wonderful. The public everywhere welcomed us with open
arms, and have praised our music and our way of singing,” Brother d’Assis said.
“We cannot do anything but be grateful.”

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