Read Testimonials from Choristers that have gone on the UK Tour!

We’re gathering testimonials from past choristers in efforts to bolster financial  support for the current Senior Choir to get to the UK in February 2022.


Read below and consider making a donation to our Go Fund Me.


Maeve Marenakos

“I still have the hand knotted bookmark she offered me as a token souvenir. 

I know that one of the largest blessings early in my life was the St. Peters Community Choir. From age 5 to 18, I was able to participate in an incredible choir with the most outstanding leadership. Not only was I presented with the opportunity to travel abroad, but I witnessed time and again the power, and the beauty, of singing with a group that could knock your socks off. St. Peter’s Community Choir was not only a group I sang with, but a built-in crew of friends and family who I still know and love today.


When staying in the small town of Moorlinch in England’s countryside, all choristers are paired up with another member of the choir and a host family. These folks open their houses to the choir and house use for several days. I remember being at one of our pre-tour meetings and volunteering to stay on my own. At the time I thought  ‘yeah I’ll do anything, just get me to England’.


I was matched with an elederly woman that lived in a small house, and thus could only take one chorister in. She opened her home to a stranger from America and welcomed me like family. The first morning after I had arrived, my alarm went off and shortly after while I was getting ready I heard a  soft knock at the door. My host  offered me the best tea and biscuits I’ve ever had AND hand delivered them to my bedroom. To this day I have not been able to replicate such a perfect cup of English breakfast tea! 


At that time I was simply endeared by her kindness. Now I realize she imprinted her kindness, trust, and generosity on me. Today, I look back and remember our brief encounter with awe and gratitude. So rarely do we experience being welcomed into a strangers home but when we open our whole hearts to music and being open to new experiences we might just find the perfect cup of tea.”


Pablo Falbru

“My first Choir tour with SPCAA was in 1999 – I believe it was the inaugural tour. It was the first time I traveled out of the country and it was nothing short of amazing. I remember that trip fondly. Aside from being with all of my choir friends and mentors, the experience of traveling abroad showed what the world had to offer outside of my small town upbringing. After that trip I was filled with wonder and possibility. 

As I reflect on my time singing in choirs, I recognize how much it taught me how to listen closely to others, to be aware of how my voice and actions impact the whole choir and the discipline of working on a craft. I apply those lessons to every aspect of my life to this day. Not to mention, singing in some of the oldest and most beautiful Cathedrals in the world was awe inspiring. It truly was a privilege to have those experiences and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to do so. 

It’s not lost on me how much energy and support others put in to make that trip happen. There was no way my family could have afforded to send me on tour. The generosity of our host families, donors, and the SPCAA community was truly humbling. It was one of those moments in my life that strengthened my faith in humanity and the power of a shared vision. My time at SPCAA and singing on tour has had a lasting impact on my life. It helped shape who I am today and cultivated lifelong friendships. Providing an opportunity for others to go on tour comes full circle and it’s the least I can do to give back to those who have given so much to me.”

Sarah Collins McGowan

“I had the honor of being part of the very first choir trip to the U.K. in 1999 during my senior year in high school.  Father Jim promised that we would make the trip happen before I graduated, and through the fundraising and organizing work of many dedicated people, it happened!  I have many wonderful memories from that trip, but one of my favorites was our stop in the little village of Moorlinch.  The people there were incredibly kind and welcoming to us and before we boarded our bus to leave we sang “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” as a thank you, to tears all around.  It was a very special moment that impressed on us choristers the power of music.  I am delighted that that trip was only the first and that many young people have since gotten the opportunity to travel to the U.K., meet the people there, see places steeped in history, and most importantly share their musical talents.”


Luke Kairys

“Looking back on my trip to the United Kingdom, the experience was once in a lifetime. Traveling to Europe with a bunch of your friends, staying with host families that really welcomed you like you were one of their own, taking in the sights and beautiful culture that the cities and towns offer, and most importantly singing in beautiful historical spaces was truly an amazing experience that I am so grateful to have been able to be part of. It wouldn’t have been possible without the leadership of Wendy, Jim, Sue, Father Adams and Josephine. Thank you for the great memories!”


Vanady Enjoli Mitchell

“I had the pleasure of traveling to the UK twice while in choir. As a young girl who faced adversity at home, this trip was not only an escape but an opportunity to see a whole new world. There was such pride singing in cathedrals and sharing the joy of music overseas, and it was surreal going from reading Shakespeare in English class to standing in his childhood home. There were so many wonderful experiences but most importantly those trips planted a seed of hope, understanding that if I work hard, there’s opportunity waiting for me. Over 20 years later I still speak of those trips and the arts academy fondly because of the positive impact it had on my life.”

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