Tampa youth choir sings at Papal Mass in the Vatican

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – The sweet voices of local children will fill the Vatican on New Years Day. They’re the perfect unison of the Blessed Sacrament Church Childrens’ choir and the St. Anthony Church ‘Choristers’.

The group of 30 elementary and high schools students traveled to Rome Dec. 26 to join more than 5,000 young singers from across the globe for the International Congress of Pueri Cantores. They have been singing at different churches throughout Rome and the Vatican.

Choir member Clare Hernandez explains it’s “thousands and thousands of kids all singing the same songs and for the same purpose, to give glory to god.”

The main event is a performance at the historic St. Peter’s Basilica for the ‘World Peace Day’ papal mass. The joint choir got the call more than a year ago.

“My reaction was… you don’t know what you’re getting into, it’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of fundraising. A great amount of work goes into it, but they said we want to do it, we want to do it,” says the choir director Sandra Lau who took a different group of singers to the Vatican five years ago.

With Lau leading the music direction after receiving the official music books this summer, parents pitched in to start raising funds for the group hosting auctions, dinner parties and creating and selling cookbooks. It’s a group effort greatly appreciated by choir members like Sarah Balling who describes it as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“As an older choir member, this was my last year with the choir so I won’t ever get another chance to do anything like this,” explains Balling.

The group has been chronicling the unique experience on a Facebook page. You can see images and wish them well here.

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