Spain and Portugal Tour - Into the Mountain!
Dear Friends,


On Friday, June 2, the 34 members of the Georgia Boy Choir’s Concert Choir and Young Men’s Ensemble left their homes in Atlanta to embark on an 18-day concert tour of the Iberian Peninsula.  9 and ½ hours later they arrived in the Spanish capital of Madrid, a thriving, modern city with a fascinating history.  The young travelers spent their first day in Europe exploring many of its marvelous sites.  Despite their jetlag, they enjoyed touring the city, which included some souvenir shopping in Plaza Mayor and Plaza del Sol, and most importantly the delicious, world-famous, deep-fried churros dipped in melted chocolate.



After a much appreciated night’s rest, the Choir set off for the Valle de los Caídos in the foothills of the mountains northwest of Madrid.  Valle de los Caídos is one of the most phenomenal structures in the world.  Carved in to the mountain is a vast basilica with a nave as long as St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.  On either side of the gargantuan doors are two imposing winged sentries with swords more than 10 feet tall.  Passing in to the enormous cavern some of the boys thought was like entering the “mines of Moria” in The Lord of the Rings.  Upon reaching the immense dome with its gold mosaic representing the rapture, it is stunning to realize that directly above it (on top of the mountain) is the largest cross in the world reaching more than 550 feet in to the sky.



It was in this rarified environment that the Georgia Boy was to have its first performance of the tour.  They shared some of the responsibility of the Mass with the resident choir of men and boys, swapping phrases of the plainsong Missa de Angelis from different locations in the church for an other-worldy stereophonic effect.  When the boys and young men from Georgia sang Hubert Parry’s “My Soul, There Is A Country” during the Communion they took full advantage of the unparalleled acoustic with its 12-second reverberation.

My, Soul, There Is A Country



Following the service, the Choir was invited to present a concert, which they were only too happy to do.  The several hundred worshippers gathered around the singers, listening appreciatively and applauding warmly.  One dear lady named Carmen was so moved by the boys and their singing that she followed them to the nearby café and insisted on paying for their lunch.  Upon learning this, the boys realized the power that their singing has to stir hearts and draw people together.



In the afternoon, the Choir made their way back to Madrid where they had an appointment to tour The Prado Museum, one of the great art galleries of the world.  Here they were privileged to view a special exhibit of the works of Bosch (El Bosco), the famous artist of the early Renaissance whose fantastical paintings foreshadowed the Surrealism movement that would come 400 years later.  They also saw works by Caravaggio, Rubens, Velasquez and countless others.


On Sunday morning, they went to La Almudena, the Cathedral of Madrid, right across from the Royal Palace where they were scheduled to sing the High Mass at noon.  This imposing structure is held up by more than 50 enormous columns in its interior.  The Choir took its place in the gallery (the balcony at the rear of the church) and seated themselves in the choir loft beneath the huge pipe organ which the Choir’s organist, Scott Atchison played magnificently, and the combined sounds of organ and choir reverberated throughout the enormous edifice.  Following the service, those in attendance applauded the Georgians enthusiastically.




After a delicious lunch of traditional Tapas, the rest of the day was spent on the road, driving southwest toward Lisbon, Portugal where the Choir will spend the next few days.  All were extremely grateful for a wonderful experience in Madrid and are eagerly anticipating further adventures. "Like" and "follow" us on Facebook for daily pictures and videos from our travels!


Until next time,


The 2016 Georgia Boy Choir Spain and Portugal Tour Team.



Septemember 2016!


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