Chester resident travels to Italy with New Jersey Youth Chorus

Photo credit: Miyuru Amarapala

By Steve Sears

Siyara and Kian Kilcoyne

Chester’s Siyara Kilcoyne this summer toured in Italy for 10 days with the New Jersey Youth Chorus.

The NJYC served as the choir-in-attendance at the Vatican Basilica di San Pietro St. Peter and St. Paul feast day Mass on June 29, and on July 4, choir members laid a wreath at the Florence American War Memorial and cemetery and held a recital there.

Kilcoyne, 17, a senior at the Pingry School in Basking Ridge, has been a member of the NJYC since the seventh grade.

Kilcoyne said of her trip, “We performed at various places, but that (the June 29 performance) was by far the highlight. That was the first show as well, so it set the tour off on a good note.”

NJYC also participated in several additional community events. They performance in support of the Associazione Kim, an Italian non-profit organization, at Basilica Di Sant’ Andrea Della Valle in Rome, and also sang at Basilica di Santo Spirito and San Antonio Abate Church, both in Millan, and St. Ilario Church in Cremona.

Kilcoyne first started singing when one of her friends in England, without her knowing, signed her up for a school play audition for The Wizard of Oz. Kilcoyne said, “I remember my parents afterwards saying, ‘Oh my gosh – we did not know you could sing. This is such a surprise for us.”

After that, Kilcoyne started taking singing lessons, and when she moved to Chester, she looked for an opportunity to sing publicly. She said, “I do not think I was as confident singing alone as I thought I would be if I was singing with people. That is how I found the choir. I had a friend at school who was in it, and she told me that it was a lot of fun.”

It has indeed been so for Kilcoyne, but it is also a commitment for her and the other singers. She added, “It does require hard work and practice, but all the girls in the choir are really close. We call each other ‘choir sisters.’ When we are performing, we are all in unison. We have to work together to make sure our voices blend. So, there is that deeper level of connection, if that makes sense. It is a very special experience. I have sports practices every day of the week, but choir for me is every Monday for two hours. It does not seem like it takes up a lot of my life, but it is something that is very important to me.”

An additional nice thing for Siyara and her family is her 12-year-old brother, Kian, auditioned and is now a member of the NJYC. He and his mom made the trip to Italy, and it was there he forged friendships with some of the older boys in the choir. When accepted, Kian thought that, due to his age, he would find a home in the middle school choir. However, his tenor voice fit well with those on the Italy trip, so he joined the high school choir with Siyara.

Kilcoyne lauds a bittersweet moment for her and the other NJYC singers. “We have a choir tradition at every spring concert. We sing (Katie Moran Bart’s) ‘Blessing.’ It is kind of a goodbye song to the seniors because the spring concert is their last concert with the New Jersey Youth Chorus. It is their last time performing with us, so oftentimes, when we are singing that song, everyone in the choir ends up crying. We are all sobbing by the end of the song. And I think that is something very unique to my choir, especially, which I am very grateful for. It is a nice experience to have.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.