“You’ll take the high road and I’ll take the low road / And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye / Where me and my true love will never meet again / On the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond” is a recognizable portion of a traditional Scottish tune.
In May of 2019, the Loras College Choirs plan to visit various locations in Scotland. This trip is not just meant to be another course with homework, workshops and papers. It is meant to be an experience that can be enjoyed, giving students a positive memory to remember during college and beyond.
“We’re planning to see a lot of the countryside, mostly places of historical significance – like Loch Lomond and Oban, the Isle of Mull and Iona,” Dr. Kluck said. “Our music program will include songs from Scottish composers as far back as Medieval times. There’s some good music, but really the main goal is to have a good time, enjoy our time abroad and make music for and with people.”
Kluck wants it to be an experience that not only allows students to see the country but also experience the culture, allowing them to become part of the world they are seeing. Scotland has a side to it that is ancient and historical, which Kluck wants students to live, not just see.
“In the tour proposal, our idea is to have at least a couple of occasions were there is a local choir we partner with to do some sort of concert or recital together. So really, the focus is on community. Community-building through music is the goal of the trip. That, and sightseeing.”
The trip is meant to be open to anyone from various musical backgrounds
“I am encouraging people to join the fall semester if they haven’t had any choral experience so it’s not brand new to them in the spring,” Dr. Kluck said. “The idea is to have us sing music that is fun and accessible. I really want anyone who’s ever thought about going to Scotland to go to Scotland. It’s my job to figure out the singing part if they haven’t done it before.”
The opportunity isn’t limited only to musicians or current students – alumni will be able to go as well.
“I want it to include all the concert choir and chamber singers, and then I am opening it up to alumni as well. We’re partnering with an alumni choir that’s giving a concert mid-May this year on campus, and we’ll sing as part of their concert,” Kluck said. “There’s an extensive network of people who sang at Loras who still come back to sing. I think it would be really cool to have a multi-generational tour.”
Alumni continuously support Loras, and coming together with current Duhawks through music will be a beneficial and meaningful experience.
The music itself will not be strictly Scottish, with many unique opportunities available. Kluck would like to include American music along with some music in the style of the British Isles. The trip will also present some one-of-a-kind possibilities.
“I would also like to program a piece by Scottish composer Sir James MacMillian. I did my dissertation on him and I have some correspondence out to his agent to see if we can confirm a workshop with him. It truly would be a once in a lifetime experience. Even if you’re not interested in music, he is an amazing figure, a very strong Catholic voice musically and politically. He’s a very interesting gentleman who has been knighted.”
Besides the potential workshop with MacMillan, Kluck is also enthusiastic about the cathedrals the group will visit.
“I don’t have an architecture or history background, except for the music side of things, but I love them. I am the nerd who will just stand there and soak up everything the tour guides say.”
“I think I’m excited because I know the quality of music our current choral students put together has increased,” Dr. Kluck said. “There are a lot of really wonderful students who deserve a really cool choir trip like this and haven’t gotten to go on one yet. So that was the motivation for putting it together.”
Due to technological difficulties, articles from the Feb. 15 issue were posted late. The Lorian apologizes for the late update.