It’s Vatican Day 

Good morning, All! 

Today’s the day. Someone said in the crowd this morning waiting for the bus…..this is the day that we have been practicing for in the last ten months. Honestly, I’m a bit overwhelmed today but I’m not going to tell anyone!  St. Peter’s.  St. Peter’s!!!!!!!!  They were given our repertoire a very long time ago.  They selected four pieces for the mass: Adoramus Te, Down in the River to Pray, For the Beauty of the Earth and The Lord Bless You and Keep You. I’m taking our Italian speaking nurse with me into St Peter’s.  I’m not sure if Mass will be in Italian or Latin.  Just asked a couple of my bus one adults who are Catholics if the Mass is in Latin would they understand it……the answer….no, but I think I could guess. Doesn’t instill a lot of faith!  Haha get it….faith!  (Can you tell I’m a bit punchy!)  Overwhelmed and so very humbled.  A bit teary eyed as I type.  We are about to enter the walls of Rome.  OH MY!  I’m so amazed every time I visit this city. It truly is beautiful.  I have to be honest that the first time I visited Rome in 2005 I was not impressed.  The Gartner family gave it another chance in 2007 and again in 2010.  This will be my fourth time. I fall in love with it even more every time. We are going to drop off near the Vatican and give them about 90 min to shop/eat/drink and get back so that we can drop our concert attire.  For those of you who have been here picture the Vatican museum with 85 people in concert attire!  Yes, that’s what we are doing. Lots of restrictions that we must comply with. 

In the Vatican museum.  Our guide is exceptionally educated in all of the artifacts and art. We are here on a beautiful day. Hot but not humid. Dry heat! The guides are saying this is a good time to be here.  Between breakfast and lunch. Not so crowded!  Whatever!  Looks pretty crowded to us!  

Just got stopped by a random woman who wanted to know who we were.  I told her we were singing mass in St. Peter’s at 5:00. She couldn’t believe it! 

Have I mentioned there are two types of tourists in Italy in my mind?  Those that like old rocks and stuff and those that like gelato!  At least we have appealed to all after today! 

I so wish I could attach pictures!  Our wifi has been sporadic at best. Mr Kreiner said after Scss trip 1 the students said they had a great time but we’re happy to get back to the USA where they could get free refills!  After trip 7 everyone is going to say they had a great time but we’re happy to get back to the USA for uninterrupted Internet. 

Back on the bus headed to the hotel. 

Wow!  Scss sang a mass in the Vatican. I truly cannot believe it.  Way back in 2003 when the Scss trips began if someone had told me we would finish our tours singing a mass in the Vatican I would have said no way.  The only way this has happened is the quality of student voices in the past……the reputation quote, you know!  Thank you to all our former members for helping us get here today.  

We toured the Vatican museum including the Sistine Chapel with about 5000 -10000 of our closest friends. Then we waited on the balcony of St. Peter’s for group two and three. We met Mitch Radakovich’s grandparents who had been waiting all day for him.  We saw Jen Mott’s mom and brother Andrew.  All of the parallel tour was there and of course all of our phenomenal parent chaperones! They have been fabulous. 

The personnel of the Vatican were so congenial and helpful.  We were able to set up benches and even practiced prior to mass.  We sang four pieces.  Thio was phenomenal in that the piece they selected for communion was The Lord Bless You and Keep You.  It’s rather short and there were a lot of people in the main chapel.  (Did I tell you we were bumped up to first class!!!!!). Alex had to improvise on the organ until all were served. He’s amazing.  We were directly behind the main alter, the mammoth Bernini created one.  As I sit here on the bus I still cannot believe we did what we did.  They even allowed us to take a photo in front of the alter. They never allow people to take pictures.  We are hoping one of the parents got a good photo!  

Off to the square of St. Peter’s.  We gathered in three rows in front of the big fountain and sang two songs to the crowd.  As always a crowd pleaser.  Then off to dinner.  GREAT evening. Great fun, GREAT people!!!!  

Last day tomorrow.  Last concert tomorrow.  Last few memories tomorrow.  

Good night to all. 


  1. It has been a total delight to tour Italy via Blog and Facebook with Josey…..thanks so much!

  2. God bless you Linda Gartner! As you know we are a practing Catholic family. You just gave our daughter the experience of a life time! I know that she was greatly moved by this extraordinary opportunity. Catholic or not, I’m sure everyone in your group is so grateful to be given this opportunity.
    Once again, your update “got me”!
    Thank you!!!

  3. Im teary eyed as I read this. My memories of my visit there combined with thoughts of my grandson actually having this amazing experience is so incredibly beautiful. Thank you all so much for all of it.

  4. Congrats to all. It’s been awesome to follow you this week and pray for you along the way.
    Can’t wait until the 28th to hear this glorious choir in person.
    God Speed.

  5. Wow in tears as always

  6. Linda, not only are you a gifted musician, but also a phenomenal writer! We feel that we are with you on this trip !!! Thanks so much! Winnie and Joe Gochar. (Marywynn’s Mom and Dad)

  7. Blessings on you Linda and Neil, to all those who have come before so that today these could bring musical leadership at the Vatican.

  8. What an experience! Thanks for sharing so candidly in your blog- such an amazing adventure! Safe travels – Love and prayers, Diana