SINGING to 4,500 people including the Pope is a big task.
But the choir from St John’s College in Southsea didn’t let their nerves get the better of them as they sang in The Vatican as part of a two-week tour across Italy.
Among the places the choir performed throughout their trip were the Emperor’s balcony in the Colosseum in Rome, and cathedrals in Pisa, Assisi, Milan and Florence.
At The Vatican they sang for three hours at the Pontifical High Mass and High Mass at St Peter’s Basilica in front of 4,500 people.
They also performed at the Pope’s private residence in the courtyard in Castel Gandolfo.
Oliver Clark, 16, head of the choir, said: ‘It was overwhelming to think that we were in the Pope’s private residence – the place looked amazing.
‘We were amongst others in the courtyard, but from what I could tell we were the only school choir.
‘It was incredible, and we sang really well considering it was quite different to other venues we have sung in, as there were lots of people immediately around us.’
Tom Watts, 16, assistant head of the choir, added: ‘Singing to the Pope was really special – it’s certainly not something you do in your everyday life.
‘Everyone around us fell silent when we sang our own piece. Seeing the Pope so close up was incredible – to have the most important figure of the Catholic Church in front of you is quite overwhelming.’
Parents of the choir flew out to watch their children sing.
Keith Ellison, head of music at the school, said: ‘They were incredible. It was astonishing singing. I was incredibly proud of them. I don’t mind admitting I shed a tear in their last song.
‘For them to have the courage to be able to stand up in front of so many people and be so professional and perform so well is brilliant. Every performance was outstanding.’