September 29th, 2017 marked the 14th consecutive year the students of the high school choir traveled north for the annual fall retreat. Located north of Torres Novas, just outside of the village of Valhelhas, Quinta de Vishuddha provides a quiet and peaceful place to create music, forge new friendships and enjoy the lush, fragrant hills of rural Portugal.
During the two day weekend retreat the students were engaged in over 6 hours of music sessions directed by CAISL secondary music teacher, Lori Riggins who is in her 4th year teaching music at CAISL. The music and group sessions were designed to help prepare the students for the upcoming winter concert in December. The students also participated in team building and other activities that included walks in the hills and hikes on the small pathways through the pine, lemon, fig and olive trees. Meals were served family style and the students were called to group and meal time in the traditional way of the dinner bell and later enjoyed toasting marshmallows by the warm fireside.
The weekend concluded on Sunday, October 1st
with a trip to Tomar to visit the Convento de Cristo where they took time to sing in one of the small acoustic chapels located inside the castle walls. A small crowd gathered to listen as the high school students sang a few bars of the SATB choral piece Alleluia, written by John Randall. Students will sing this same piece at the Winter Concert and all are welcomed and invited to come enjoy the music presented by CAISL secondary choir and orchestra programs.
By Lori Riggins, Secondary Choral Director
For photos, please follow this link.