NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - While touring Italy May 20 through 30, the SFA A Cappella Choir will perform in six different venues, sometimes presenting a concert program and at other times singing the music for a Mass. East Texans will have an opportunity to hear both programs at Sacred Heart Catholic Church the weekend of April 18 and 19.

At Sacred Heart's regularly scheduled 5 p.m. Mass on Saturday, April 18, the A Cappella Choir will provide the music just as it will at Masses held in San Marco Basilica in Venice, Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Florence and St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.

"We are grateful to Monsignor James E. Young and Sacred Heart for allowing us to participate in the Mass," said Dr. Tim King, SFA director of choral activities and of the A Cappella Choir. "This will be especially helpful for our non-Catholics who will be able to experience the flow of a Catholic liturgy before singing in one of the Italian basilicas."

The choir will present a preview of its concert program at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 19, in Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Highlights of the program include Giuseppe Verdi's "Ave Maria," Eric Whitacre's "Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine," and a collection of spirituals.

While in Italy, the choir will perform the program at the International Music Festival in Marostica, outside of Venice; Santa Maria Maggiore in Florence; and St. Paul's Within the Walls in Rome.

Presenting the program in Nacogdoches gives the choir an opportunity to perform it for an audience and gives East Texans an opportunity to hear a beautifully diverse choral concert, for free, King explained.

Traveling with the choir will be other SFA students who are enrolled in an art and music appreciation class taught by Dr. David Howard, SFA associate director of choral activities, and Dr. Jill Carrington, SFA associate professor of art history.

The trip provides all of the students a rare opportunity, Howard said. "To study the music of Renaissance and Baroque Italian composers in the venues where the works were originally performed, surrounded by the art and architecture that inspired the composers is a moving and life-changing experience."

The choir is still accepting donations to help offset the cost of the tour. Anyone interested in making a contribution can call the SFA Choir Office at (936) 468-2515.