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Song Birds

It turns out that living vicariously through other students enjoying spring break is actually preferable to trying to enjoy your own when there’s still snow on the ground and temperatures are in the single digits. That was the glum reality for students who stayed home during the first week of March this year, ONU’s designated spring recess.

Thank heavens for Twitter.

Of all the trips ONU students took this year (and there were many), the University Singers and ONU Choral Singers tour of the United Kingdom was one of the most interesting for bystanders to follow on social media.

Kendra Voll, a senior music major from Lakewood, Ohio, started a Twitter countdown of sorts a full month before she boarded the plane for Europe. Evidently, the last week before the trip was the most difficult to bear.

Senior Rebecca Wilden, a music major from Delaware, Ohio, pulled no punches in delivering a tweet that undoubtedly made scores jealous on multiple levels

But the real fun began when the tour did, with many students tweeting and Instagramming their experiences in real-time as they performed in historic cathedrals throughout the United Kingdom. The tour featured two ONU ensembles, the University Singers and the ONU Chamber Singers, in a three-part program that included selections of sacred, chamber and secular music.

The tour’s first performance fittingly took place on March 1 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, Scotland, a church dating back to 1871, the very year that ONU was founded. The performance garnered an advance tweet by What’s On Glasgow, the self-described “essential guide to what’s on in Glasgow and across Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire!”

This first performance was followed by a stop in Manchester, England, at the Manchester Cathedral on March 2, and a performance in Cardiff, Wales, at the Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral of St. David on March 4. The final performance of the tour was at Regent Hall in London, England, on March 6.

“It was really fun to visit Manchester, England, because we were able to reconnect with an ONU alum and friend to many in the choir, Lewis Jones. He is completing his master’s degree there at the University of Salford,” said Wilden.

Judging by the tweets they inspired from the host nations, it’s safe to say the tour was a smashing success.

The University Singers performed selections of sacred music ranging from a classical work by J.S. Bach, to a composition by world-renowned vocalist and improvisator Bobby McFerrin, to American folk hymns. They also performed a set of secular music.

The ONU Chamber Singers straddled the pond as they say, with works that both honored their hosts (“Loch Lomond” and John Lennon’s “Because”) and reflected the American musical tradition (the African-American spiritual “Ain’-a That Good News!”).

By the end of the tour, the students had visited Stonehenge; toured London and seen Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and the famous Tower Bridge; driven on the “wrong” side of the road; and just generally soaked up the culture.

Joining the more than 40 ONU students, faculty and staff on the tour — including  choral director and associate professor of music Dr. Ben Ayling — was ONU’s first family, President Dan DiBiasio and First Lady Chris Burns-DiBiasio, who themselves are no strangers to social media.





Scroll down for more tweets.



1 month from today we will be on a plane to England #UKtour #cantwait

— Kendra Voll (@kendraful) January 28, 2015

This week is about to go by so slow. #UKtour #5days

— Kendra Voll (@kendraful) February 23, 2015

I'm ready to head to a slightly warmer climate for "spring" break

— Becca (@RebeccaWilden) February 24, 2015

At the airport!

— Becca (@RebeccaWilden) February 27, 2015

We're in Amsterdam! Connecting flight leaves at 3 (it's almost noon here)

— Becca (@RebeccaWilden) February 28, 2015

The Ohio Northern University Singers will perform at St Mary's Cathedral on March 1st as part of their UK tour!

— Whats On Glasgow (@WhatsOnGlasgow) February 25, 2015

Driving on the wrong side of the road is freaking me out

— Becca (@RebeccaWilden) March 1, 2015

We're in Wales now!

— Becca (@RebeccaWilden) March 3, 2015

Chris and I r thrilled 2 b on tour in the UK with the ONU University Singers. So far two spellbinding concerts in two magnificent cathedrals

— Dan DiBiasio (@DanDiBiasio) March 3, 2015

And we've all adopted British accents at this point

— Becca (@RebeccaWilden) March 3, 2015

Attended Evensong @Westminster Abbey 2 night with the University Singers; spectacular architecture and a beautiful service.

— Dan DiBiasio (@DanDiBiasio) March 5, 2015

We've gone on an open bus tour of London, enjoyed Evensong at Westminster Abbey, and now we're stuffed full of fancy Turkish food!

— Becca (@RebeccaWilden) March 5, 2015

Just some rocks...

A photo posted by Becca (@trumpethero) on Mar 6, 2015 at 5:52am PST

Never a boring night in the UK with these ladies.

— Haley Sperry (@Haley_Sperry) March 6, 2015

Leaving London in just a few hours. All smiles after our last concert with President Dan and Chris

A photo posted by Becca (@trumpethero) on Mar 6, 2015 at 4:43pm PST