CARBONEAR, NL — Nine-year-old Liam Rowe enjoyed some time in Europe this month, alongside several dozen of his friends.
The Atlantic Boychoir features singers ranging in age from only eight-years-old, all the way up to 22. With nearly 50 singers, the group’s combined vocals echoed through theatres and concert halls in Austria, Czech Republic, and Germany.
Rowe, of Carbonear, auditioned for the choir in his hometown approximately 19 months ago. A year-and-a-half later, he travelled to Europe for the first time in his life, alongside the choir for their 10-day Christmas tour, Dec. 8-18th. He said the trip was an experience he will not soon forget, and that he was happy to share the memories with his fellow choir members.
“I’m just very grateful that we got the opportunity to go and see all these places, and sing for so many people in another country,” said the young soprano. “There are 49 of us. So when we did a little bit of touring, and visiting different parts of the city, it was nice to see everyone working together in groups that we divided into. A lot of teamwork was involved, and I think that made the trip a lot more fun.”
The choir’s tour saw them performing in concert halls both big and small, in front of audiences ranging from the hundreds to thousands, namely, the Meistersingerhalle in Nürnberg, Germany, where the boys sang for upwards of 6,000 people.
Alongside this being Rowe’s first experience with Europe, it was also his first opportunity to perform a solo with the choir, leading them in their rendition of Silent Night before a sold out crowd in Tábor, Czech Republic. It was a performance he would replicate later in the tour, when the choir found themselves in Germany. Rowe also got the chance to sing a solo trio alongside fellow singers Will Brothers of Corner Brook and Ben Candow of St. John’s.
Despite the large crowds and unfamiliar territory, Rowe told The Compass that his presence onstage has always felt rather natural to him, and that he’s hardly felt nervous when it comes to such musical endeavours.
Rowe was also happy to speak on the choir’s success with the tour, noting the positive response they received.
“People really loved it, and that’s important to us, and them, because going and seeing these performances is a family tradition for a lot of people over there, to go listen to a boy choir. Boy choirs have been around over there a very, very long time. My billets, for example, go see a boy choir every year, and have seen Japanese, Czech, all these different boy choirs from different places” Rowe explained. “So it was kind of risky for people to go see a Canadian boy choir, but they were blown away. We sang in their language, which took a lot of practice, but I think that really helped as well. Now, I think I know Silent Night better in German than I do in English.”
The choir’s performance was so well-received, in fact, that the Munich youth choir, Czech boy choir, and directors of Meistersingerhalle invited the Atlantic boychoir back to perform again in three years, on one condition – they bring a recorded CD along with them. The choir agreed, and will be working on the CD in March of 2018.
At only nine-years-old, Rowe told The Compass his 10-day trip has provided him with memories and experiences that will last him a lifetime, and while he’s glad to be back home in Newfoundland, he looks forward to the opportunities the choir will yield in the future.
“There was a lot that happened. I have a couple favourite moments, but overall, I’m just grateful that we got the chance to go over there, and experience something like this.”