For the TNU Singers, their journey home meant a concert tour through the United Kingdom leading to a small church in Wales.
“Home” is Coleg Trefeca— the University’s namesake. From May 12- 22, the members of the chorus joined the “On My Way Home” tour and performed in about five churches throughout Ireland and the UK.
“I thought it was great that we could connect these students to our history, and it was great that Trevecca could connect with Coleg Trefeca. It was a real honor for the TNU Singers to be the bridge between two institutions,” said Thomas Lerew, Trevecca assistant professor of music and director of the TNU Singers.
The choral ensemble practiced nearly every day for most of the school year in preparation for their full hour-long concerts abroad as well as their church service in Wesley’s Chapel, London.
The Singers have been raising funds for the trip since late October through bake sales, variety shows and online fundraising profiles. The students then paid for the remainder of the expenses.
To Mallory Miller, sophomore worship arts and business major, her first trip abroad was not just about seeing historical buildings, architectural designs and witnessing the vast number of sheep in the hills Ireland and England. It was about being part of a group with a common goal, she said.
“Being in class together is so much different than doing life together. And I think if you were to take any class and then take them on a trip then you would get to know each other so much better than the surface level,” she said. “That was my favorite part of the trip was just to be able to connect with people in a way that we don’t get to on Monday through Friday.”
The TNU Singers prepared the songs to suit the audience and the environment.
For the students that joined the trip during their senior year, this concert tour was the last time they sing these songs as they enter a new chapter of their lives.
One of these students is Jacob Kanupp, a recent vocal performance, theory and music composition graduate, who said many of his peers had become emotional throughout their journey.
“When we had our last concert near the end of the tour one half of the choir was crying because we did it. We’re done. It’s over… this chapter of our lives is closed,” he said.
Lerew believes international travel is an essential part of the college experience. The concert tour, he said, would expose students to audiences from different cultures.
“I actually ended up learning more about American culture than I anticipated because I had the chance to juxtapose it to a culture completely different,” he said.
Along with Lerew, several Trevecca employees and alumni joined the students in the tour.
Despite the Trevecca team’s tight 10-day schedule, Lerew said students were able to meet his expectations.
“It’s always great to see all their hard work,” he said. “I’m really proud of them. They’re tremendous young people.”