The Carroll Festival Chorus will perform in a local concert with two other choirs - Sirjelind, the Paide Girls Choir from Estonia; and Voce Viaggio, the Children's Chorus of Carroll County - before heading off to an international choral festival in Canada.
The three choirs will perform at A Gala Festival Concert of International Singing at 7 p.m. Thursday at Winters Mill High School. Then the Carroll Festival Chorus, a 32-member Westminster group that includes singers from different choirs, will have a day off before leaving Saturday for St. John's, Newfoundland, to perform at the Festival 500, Sharing the Voices, Saturday through July 11. The Carroll Festival Chorus was one of 35 choirs invited to perform at the international gathering.
"It is a musical version of the Olympics," said Margaret Boudreaux, 53, director of the festival chorus and also director of the McDaniel College Choir. "It's about sharing and singing together. ... To me, this is nirvana. This is as good as it gets."
Joanne Lott, 56, a member of the Carroll Festival Chorus, said more than 2,000 voices will be performing from countries such as Argentina, Puerto Rico, Australia and Japan. The event is held every two years.
With daily scheduled activities, the chorus will be performing in Newfoundland at churches, stadiums and various colleges, with "one major grand finale at the end" at Mile One Stadium in St. John's.
The festival chorus will be performing the works of local artists such as Glenn Caldwell and Garth Baxter, faculty members in McDaniel's music department, as well as famous singers such as Billie Holiday.
"We choose works originated by, and widely sung in, our area of the country," Lott said.
Everything from gospel to poetry set to music, and Canada's national anthem, will be performed in Newfoundland.
The Carroll Festival Chorus plans to open with a piece that members believe represents the spirit of the festival, "I Have Had Singing," composed by Steven Sametz. Boudreaux said the performance will conclude with a piece composed by Ysaye Barnwell titled "We Are."
Lott said she is anxious to hear the music from different cultures.
"We have the advantage of having international people to work with. ... We are excited about hearing them ... what is it like, how do they sound, what do they do?" she said.
Boudreaux said the participants "are more excited about that than anything else."
Boudreaux said she cannot believe she will be performing next to international singers such as Maria Guinand from Venezuela - a performer she has admired a long time.
"I am still pinching myself," she said.