Chorus Urbanus members have returned back from the choir’s highly successful 12th Choral Tour to Torino with singing engagements at St John Bosco’s Church of Maria Ausiliatrice in Valdocco, the Chapel of the Holy Shroud at the Duomo di Torino and the SS. Trinità Church in Nichelino.
The choir was expressly invited to perform during the 10th anniversary mass of the late Don Joe Galea who served as parish priest of Nichelino for a long number of years ever since his ordination into priesthood. Don Joe was highly popular among the youth of Nichelino and was instrumental in marrying his pastoral ministry with sports, making Nichelino a very vibrant community.
The choir left Malta on Friday 10 February early in the morning on an Air Malta flight to Linate Airport in Milan. The group travelled by coach straight to Valdocco, Torino where the choir was given a guided tour by Don Rafael Gasol regarding the history and development of the Cappella Pinardi and the Salesian quarters where Saint John Bosco lived and died. Once inside the Maria Ausiliatrice church, the choir was shown around this magnificent church where Saint Domenico Savio and Saint Mary Mazzarello are buried. The choir performed don L. Lasagna’s antiphon Sapientiam dedit illi, the hymn Giù dai colli and the Maltese version of the hymn Ulied Ghawdex gew jifirhulek. This was indeed a very emotional moment for the members and the choir was congratulated by the Maestro di Cappella of Maria Ausiliatrice Maestro Barboni for its deeply felt interpretations performed in front of the Urn with the sacred remains of Saint John Bosco. The choir then participated during Mass at 5.00 pm being a feast of obligation for us Maltese. We thank Don Fabio Attard Sdb for being instrumental in making our ardent wish to perform at the Ausiliatrice come true. The choir then visited La Consolata Church where Saint John Bosco’s spiritual leader Saint Joseph Cafasso is buried.
The following day started with the highlight of this tour – the visit to the Duomo di Torino early in the morning where the Holy Shroud is treasured. After getting the necessary permits, soprano Yvonne Galea and Chorus Urbanus sang John Galea’s Crux Fidelis in front of this most holy relic of Christianity. The members then had some time for personal reflections and prayers. The group then proceeded to the Museo della Sindone and a visit to the church of Saint Dominic.
Our second day in Torino continued with a visit to the Palazzo Reale, the house of the Sabauda and Savoia dynasties. The opulence of this palace left everyone gasping for breath as the members proceeded from one hall to another. The choir also had time to visit the church of San Lorenzo while others made it to Palazzo Madama. During the late afternoon the members were taken to Le Gru for shopping.
After breakfast on Sunday morning, the choir was invited to a meeting with the top Nichelino Authorities in Sala Mattei at the Comune di Nichelino. We were greeted by Dott. Giampiero Tolardo and other members of the local council. Also present was Sig. Ezio Sarà who co-ordinated our visit to Torino for the 10th Anniversary celebration of the late Don Joe Galea. Also present at this meeting was Don Riccardo Robella, the present parish priest of Nichelino’s SS. Trinità Church and Mr Paul Galea (ex-mayor of Victoria) and Don Roberto Gauci, who travelled from Rome expressly for this purpose.
At 11.15 the choir animated the Holy Liturgy at the SS. Trinità Church, which was streamed live on the Nichelino Community website. The choir performed John Galea’s ‘Missa in Fractione Panis’ and motets by Christopher Tye, Ottavio Pitoni, Giuseppe Caruana, John Galea and Jakob Arcadelt. The choir was given a long applause in appreciation for its performance during this Holy Mass celebrating the memory of the late Don Joe Galea who is still fondly remembered and whose memory is still highly cherished by both the Nichelinesi (Italy) and the Vittoriani (Gozo). Gifts were exchanged after the service.
In the afternoon the choir was invited to visit the Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi, where once more opulence is the order of the day. After this visit to this sumptuous palace, the choir visited the unique Museo Egizio, near Piazza Carignano. After this visit, most members tasted the famous local drink Il Bicero at Guido Gobino’s Chocolate retail outlet. Members indulged also in more shopping in the Via Roma, Via Po areas. Before departing to the hotel, the group was taken for a tour of Torino by night.
The group returned to Malta at 3.00 pm on an Air Malta flight from Linate Airport in Milano.