Toting sheet music and an extensive choral repertoire, the Kenyon College Chamber Singers embarked on a week-long tour over spring break that included stops in Washington, D.C., Charlottesville, Virginia, and Atlanta. Despite the somewhat grueling nature of a week spent on the road, members of the ensemble credit the tour with bringing them closer to their fellow singers and improving their musicianship.
The spring tour is an integral component of the Chamber Singers, which is devoted to the performance of classical music written for smaller choirs. The group already meets for a total of five hours each week on campus, but the time spent together on the tour bus facilitated even more bonding for the close-knit ensemble. When asked if the tour improved the Chamber Singers’ relationship with one another, Christian Maric ’23 enthusiastically expressed that it did: “Certainly,” he wrote in a message to the Collegian. “I found myself growing closer with old friends and making many new friends. The closeness of the choir is, I think, reflected in the emotional aspects of our performances.”
Of the seven tour stops, some were more memorable than others for the singers. Maric cited a surprising connection in Atlanta that made his time there especially meaningful. “I had a wonderful homestay with a Kenyon alumnus who has the most amazing dog. Our host also lived in the same single in Watson that I live in now!”
For Cooper Bertschi ’26, Fayetteville, North Carolina, proved to be a favorite locale and an unexpected respite from the trials of touring: “While there, we got to meet the local community of one of our [tenor singers] while we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon outside in the sunny, 70-degree weather,” he wrote in a message to the Collegian.
While performing was undoubtedly the focus of the tour, off-stage moments were what made the experience for Maric and Bertschi. “I loved just being on the bus with everyone and goofing off,” Maric said. “At one point, everyone started impersonating our Tour Manager, [Theodore Schwamm ’24], in the choir group chat and making jokes about our next stop.” Bertschi echoed this sentiment, saying, “I especially enjoyed the impromptu rap battles that took place on the tour bus [and] the early argument over what we should name it.”
Despite the many positive aspects of the experience, the week was not without its challenges. Bertschi expressed that the strictness of the tour routine became difficult to keep up with by the fifth day, while Maric said that the transition into the tour from the “academic crunch time” that preceded spring break was jarring.
Even though there was some adversity, Maric and Bertschi both found the spring tour to be worthwhile. “Tour can be daunting, but as soon as I boarded the bus on day one, I knew that it would be a phenomenal experience — luckily, I turned out to be right,” Bertschi said. “Everyone is supportive, helpful and ready to encourage one another while trekking across the country, all while sharing many laughs and making memories.” Maric summed it up in one sentence: “Tour is the best part of being a Chamber Singer.”