Photos: Gilbert Haber

The Gaulitanus Choir has very recently returned from a highly successful concert-tour in Emilia Romagna, Italy. Also celebrating the choir’s 25th anniversary, this was held from the 11th to the 14th December following the invitation of the Associazione Culturale Vox Vitae of Porretta Terme.

The whole programme of events was entitled Cantiamo il Natale. In fact, the Gozitan choir performed a varied Christmas repertoire with musical excerpts coming various countries, including Malta; indeed an attempt to demonstrate that music is frontier-less and can unify the various peoples and cultures, irrespective of ideological and religious diversities.

The choir’s first commitment was on Saturday 12th December: a concert at the Immaculate Conception Church in Porretta Terme, which also boasts of very good acoustics. Attended by a sizeable audience led by officials of the Associazione Culturale Vox Vitae and parish priest Don Lino Civerra, the choir’s performance was very enthusiastically received and a standing ovation was given. Towards the end of the choir presented some mementos, while Padre Civerra thanked the choir for its polished and enthusiastic performance.

Sunday 13th December was a very busy day for the choir. It kicked off with a mass at Bologna’s majestic St. Peter Cathedral. The Cum iubilo concelebrated mass was presided by Monsignor Juan Andres Caniato. Mgr Caniato opted to start his homily by referring to the Gaulitanus Choir – also thanking the choir for being witnesses of their faith through accepting to animate a mass as part of their concert-tour and underlining the fact that the choir came from a country whose first encounter with faith was prominently mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles.

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Late in the afternoon the choir gave a concert at the Madonna di Galliera church (a beautiful early 18th century also known as the Chiesa dei Filippini) in the very heart of Bologna. The concert was organised with the help of the Maltese Consul in Emilia Romagna, Dott. Enrico Gurioni, who also inaugurated the church’s crib before the start of the concert. The concert was patronised by several members of the diplomatic corps serving in Bologna and a very appreciative audience, which heartily applauded the various excerpts performed and gave a standing audition at the end. While the choir offered mementos to Dott. Gurioni and baritone Marzio Giossi, who were both very helpful in making the concert-tour possible), the choir was hosted to a reception after the concert.

During the concert-tour, the Gaulitanus Choir was conducted by the choir’s founder-director Colin Attard and accompanied on the organ by Stephen Attard. Two of the choir’s up-and-coming soloists, sopranos Patricia Buttigieg and Annabelle Zammit, were very prominently featured. Other minor solo parts were interpreted by alto Tricia Azzopardi, tenor Josef Xuereb and bass Ian Grech.

Group on Monte della Croce The choir's future!

This Emilia Romagna concert-tour, also supported by the Cultural Export Fund (ACM), was the choir’ second tour to Italy and their ninth overall. Of course, the choir members and the several friends accompanying them were also treated to various interesting sightseeing tours.