The choir of Whitworth University, touring Spain this spring, staged a flash mob Sunday in the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Shivering the air of the high-ceilinged atrium, a young soprano stepped out from the daily gaggle of tourists and lifted her voice with the words of “Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal,” by Alice Parker.
Voice by voice, other members of the choir stepped alongside her and soon the renowned, contemporary museum rang with music as tourists whipped out cell phones to capture the moment.
Marc Hafso, director of the choir, posted a video on his Facebook page, and uploaded it to YouTube, as well. A tour guide suggested the impromptu performance, Hafso wrote on his page, and museum officials approved.
In a 2012 interview with The Spokesman Review, Hafso described the value of choral music this way: “When words fail us, we tend to sing. Lullabies. National anthems. There is something deeply organic and hopeful about singing. The thing that gives me hope: Choral music is such an interdisciplinary art. It has story, history, language, literature, psychology, sociology. These people (his choral students) come together, work well with one another … in an ensemble, life happens.”
According to Hafso’s Facebook page, the choir’s 2017 Spain concert tour featured traditional performances, as well. Wednesday evening, they planned a concert in Cathedral de Los S. Ninos Juso y Patro, Madrid. The choir’s earlier concerts were held at Parroquia Sant Romon de Penyafort, Barcelona, May 25; Parroquia de la Inmaculada Concepcion, Bilbao, May 27; and Catedral Vieja, Salamanca, May 30.