Study Tour to Georgia on Alice A. Martin MSM Travel Fellowships

Author: SMND

Seven SMND students were privileged to travel to the country of Georgia in May for study at the University of Ecclesiastical Chant in the capital city of Tbilisi. In addition to their studies in the musical practices of the region, the students also continued to learn more about the culture of this strikingly beautiful country and were able to renew their friendships with musicians who visited Notre Dame on a residency in January of this year.


MSM organist Leah Martin said, “I was especially struck by the way that Georgians treat singing as integral to everyday life. The spontaneous singing for each other during meals beautifully strengthens the bonds between everyone in the group.” Two of the students who went to Georgia are also studying at Notre Dame on Alice A. Martin Masters of Sacred Music Fellowships, voice major Emily Bird and choral conductor Erin Wendt. The group of seven were hosted on this study trip by Ms. Baia Zhuzhunadze of the University of Ecclesiastic Chant, whom Erin Wendt called “Superwoman.” The students now are bringing back the splendor of the Georgian chant to the USA, using their knowledge of this musical tradition in their work for church, community, and academy. Georgia is famous for its natural beauty, its art and architecture, its music, and its food!

All are supremely grateful for the extraordinary hospitality offered by our Georgian colleagues. Baritone Jared Swope said:


We've experienced a hospitality here unlike any other I've seen in other countries. When we arrived, the singers & friends greeted us like family, and that emotion has played a significant role in our learning experiences here in Tbilisi. I know from this experience I've grown to be a better musician, but also a better person.


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Singing students
L/R: Josh Wang, Leah Martin, James Goldrick, Erin Wendt, Emily Bird, Jared Swope, Constantine Navotny

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Certificates from the University of Ecclesiastical Chant
L/R: Emily Bird, Erin Wendt, Leah Martin, James Goldrick, Jared Swope, Josh Wang, Constantine Navotny

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A reception with Georgian students, faculty, and administrators, featured the head of the office of quality management Giorgi Natroshvili, the deputy head of the administration Ms. Baia Zhuzhunadze, and the Rector, Archimandrite Ioane (Silevan) Kikvadze.

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Shown here at the reception with the Rector is the head of the administration, Ms. Nana Gotua

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Ms. Nino Razmadze, Project Manager of the Georgian Chanting Foundation, speaks to the group.

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On the visit SMND Alice A. Martin Travel Fellows work with Georgian students and professional singers. 
L/R: James Goldrick, Khatia Iriauli, Teona Rukhadze (Head of the Women's Studio), Constantine Navotny, Nino Bekauri, Nino Rekhviashvili, and (in front) Mari Bokuchava