Members of the Hilliard Darby High School choir are planning a memorable spring break that includes performing a series of five concerts in England.
All 70 members of the choir, and 20 parent chaperones, will travel March 22-29 to numerous cities in England.
"I'm super excited. I've never been to Europe before, or even outside the United States," said senior Alex Keller, president of the choir.
Students learned about the trip at the end of the last school year. For the past 10 months, the students have organized fundraisers and rehearsed for the series of concerts.
"We've been talking about this trip for almost a year. Now it's becoming real," said Sara Wendel, vice president of the choir.
Students performed their concert selections March 16 for a gathering of parents.
They also received ID badges, T-shirts commemorating the tour and adapters they will need for such electrical appliances as hair dryers. Converters are required because the electric supplied from outlets in Europe vary in voltage and frequency from those in the United States.
"We will be performing in many sacred venues, so many of the numbers are sacred compositions. There are numbers from the Baroque period, but I've added a few gospel numbers and a few contemporary compositions, too," said Mike Martin, director of choral activities at Darby High School.
The contemporary songs include And So It Goes by Billy Joel and When I Fall in Love, recorded by numerous artists, including Nat King Cole.
"I think we will have a spectacular program. We've worked so well together as a group. I can't wait to show it (in England)," Wendel said.
Martin has been director of choral music at Darby High School since the building opened in 1995. This is the third time since then Darby choir members have traveled to England.
A touring company assisted in booking the choir into venues and Darby was invited based on recorded performances submitted for consideration.
Darby's choir will tour with the Exultate Singers, based in Bristol, England.
The choirs will perform separately and on occasion together during scheduled performances at Bristol Temple Meads, London, Worchester Cathedral, St. Nicholas Church in Warwickshire and Roman Baths.
Students also will have time for sightseeing, including Stonehenge and Westminster Abbey.
"Any time a student can be exposed to a different culture, I think it helps enrich learning and life experience," Martin said.
Michael Boyd, a senior at Darby who designed the choir's website, darbychoir.com, said he will post pictures and accounts of the trip via social media whenever possible.