Posted by Philip Poole on 2008-08-30

Samford University's A Cappella Choir will perform during mass at world-famous St. Peter's Basilica in Rome during a May 2009 tour through Europe. The choir was informed of the invitation and trip Aug. 29 during their opening retreat.

The mass will be one of several significant performances for the choir, including concerts in the famous Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi and with local Baptist congregations.

"This tour provides new precedents in the storied accomplishments of Samford's music program," said Joseph Hopkins, Samford's dean of the arts.

The tour is yet another example of Samford's strong commitment to global education, according to J. Bradley Creed, Samford's provost and executive vice president. "Every year Samford students travel around the globe for educational experiences that undergird what they learn in the classroom on our campus. With this trip, our students will have life-changing learning experiences from these opportunities to perform in some of the most famous venues in the world."

The 56-member choir is directed by Timothy P. Banks, professor of music, and has toured internationally for many years. The choir first toured Europe in 1965 with then-director George Koski and performed at Notre Dame during 1973 and 1983 tours under the director of Gene Black. In recent years, the choir has toured in England and China and performed at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in 2007.

Hopkins said other trip details will be announced at a later date.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.