Spain and Portugal Tour - Adventures in Asturias

Dear Friends,


The drive from Santiago de Compostela to Oviedo along the northern coast of Spain has to be one of the most beautiful in the world.  Around every bend in the road was another awe-inspiring view of either mountains, or meadows, or gorgeous beaches.  The Georgia Boy Choir made this trek in picture-perfect weather conditions on Saturday.  They stopped in the lovely town of Gijón for lunch and ice cream before arriving in Oviedo, the capital of the province of Asturias.  This area of the country is known as “green Spain” because of its verdant landscape (apparently the rain in Spain actually falls mainly in the mountains, although so far the Choir has been spared seeing any at all).



As soon as they arrived at their hotel in Oviedo, the singers changed into their performance attire and headed straight for the historic cathedral in the center of town.  The elegance and majesty of the building were matched by the remarkable singing of the boys during the mass.  They were now a week into the tour, and the level of artistry they achieved seems to have increased with each performance, as has the joy they receive every time they sing.  After the service they enjoyed a delicious dinner in the hotel.


On Sunday, they rose fairly early and drove further up into the mountains to the stunningly magnificent Cathedral of Covadonga.  Situated on a high plateau, the pink-marbled church stands in stark contrast to the rugged mountainous cliffs that surround it.  Because of its remarkable beauty, Covadonga Cathedral is a popular destination for locals as well as tourists.  The singing in the Sunday noon mass was shared by the Escolania de Covadonga (the resident choir of men and boys) and the Georgia Boy Choir.  After the service the Americans presented a concert.  The church was full – both with glorious music and with enthusiastic listeners who encouraged the boys to sing more.  The members of the Escolania were particularly appreciative and asked to pose for a picture together following the performance.  Once again, it was a wonderful opportunity for boys from different continents, who speak different languages to be united through their common love of Beauty and Music.

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On Monday, the travelers packed their bags once again and drove southwest through Basque country to the ancient city of Zaragoza.  Founded by the Romans around 25 B. C., Zaragoza  (you can hear Caesar Augustus in its name) sits astride the Ebro River and is the capital of the region of Aragon.  Towering above all of the city’s buildings is the magnificent baroque El Pilar Cathedral with its four soaring spires.  When the boys and young men of the Georgia Boy Choir, who were invited to sing for the evening mass began, the massive church seemed vibrant as the ethereal sounds wafted through its cavernous interior.  Particularly poignant was the treble voices’ rendition of “Mary Speaks,” a moving poem by Madeleine L’Engle set to achingly beautiful music by Daniel Gawthrop.


After the mass, as the sun was setting the boys once again enjoyed some refreshing ice cream on the vast plaza outside the church.  In an effort to extend the evening as long as possible, they took a leisurely stroll around the still-standing Roman walls, and crossed over the river to gain a more advantageous view of the majestic edifice before retiring to their hotel rooms.  

Check out videos from the tour!



As the tour has progressed from one mountaintop experience to another, the members of the Choir seem to be growing – not so much in stature as in their maturity.  Please don’t misunderstand: they are still 100% boys with all of the curiosity, mischievousness, and love of fun that entails.  But they have also gained an understanding of themselves and each other.  They are beginning to see themselves differently in the world.  As they meet and interact with people who speak and live differently from what they are accustomed to, they have gained an appreciation for their similarities with those people.  They have begun to see themselves as agents of Truth and Beauty.  At the same time, they have learned to love home a little more even while they are away from it.  And in the process, they have grown closer to one another, helping and supporting each other as they continue this glorious odyssey.


Until next time,


The 2016 Georgia Boy Choir Spain and Portugal Tour Team

Septemember 2016!


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