JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --- The Jacksonville Children's Chorus has been performing for more than 20 years. Together, the group has taken their collective talents to places like Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. However, in just days, they pack their bags for Rome.
The group has been practicing the repertoire for the trip for almost one year. They' have been perfecting pieces like, Puccini's Gratias Agimus Tibi. The 20 voices are part of the Jacksonville Children's Chorus tour group.
Artistic and Executive Director Darren Dailey said the chorus received an invitation directly from the Vatican.
"We are singing Latin motets, Italian arts songs, Greek folk songs," said Dailey. Not all songs will be sung at the Vatican, but throughout the course of the trip overseas.
He says he is excited to see the children explore the history that Rome has to offer.
"The best part is rehearsing the kids," said Dailey. "The performances are all gravy but having them go through the learning process and discover a piece of music for the first time- is thrilling."
The voices will soar under the dome of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. The children are singing at Sunday Mass on June 15th at the main altar.
Dana Popky has been singing with the choir for more than eight years.
"To have the opportunity to sing with all of the other people in the world and sing at the Vatican... it is just incredible."
She says the chorus gives her confidence to express herself.
Theresa Eland, agrees. She says the choir practices long and hard and at least three hours each week. Now, she is ready to hit a high note with the audience in Europe.
"It's a great opportunity to show the world what we can do," said Eland.
The choir will stay in Rome for three days and then they head to Greece for a second concert.