Two Malvern students are part of the 50-member Papal Choir that will sing for Pope Francis when he visits Philadelphia in September.
Over 80 tried out, but eventually only 50 people were chosen to be part of the choir of high school and college students to sing for the Pope on Sunday Sept. 27.
“We were contacted by Mr. Liga in mid-July,” said sophomore Christian Franck. “And we had about five days to prepare before auditioning. It was actually pretty sudden.”
Music teacher Mr. Ed Liga said that the notice was short because there isn’t just one choir performing at the Papal visit.
“There’s the Basilica choir, the larger Archdiocesan choir, a Latino choir and even a Vietnamese choir,” he said. “We were cleared so late, that I sent the email out as soon as I got word.”
Mr. Liga contacted all current and future members of the Men’s Chorus. Franck, Gatti and 2015 alum Phil Daubney all responded. They each were accepted into the chorus.
“I wish we had more people going out,” said Liga. “But who’s going to check their Malvern email in the dead of July?”
“When we went to audition, they took us into a room by voice part where one person would play the piano, and two others would grade us,” said Nick Gatti, ‘17. “We had to show our vocal range and sing ‘Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee’ in front of everyone.”
“It was kind of nerve-racking,” Gatti said.
Gatti did not think he would make the choir. “There were a lot of kids who tried out, and I was actually the last one put on the roster,” he said. “A lot of things just fell into place.”
Both Gatti and Franck are basses in the 50-person choir, which includes 32 girls and 18 boys from high schools in the area. They will perform during the Parkway Mass on Sept. 27.
“There are lot of works that can span 20, 30 minutes, and then there’s some that are short and sweet,” Franck said. “A lot of stuff was actually commissioned specifically for the Mass, so there’s a lot of original music. It’s a big binder.”
The practice schedule is busy for the two of them, including practice every night the week before Pope Francis visits in Philadelphia.
“We actually don’t know how we’re getting there,” said Gatti. “They say Secret Service is going to bus us down, but we don’t know where, when or how.”
Gatti said he also does not know if they are going to meet with the Pope, or just sing for him.