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Under the Artistic Direction of Paul Caldwell & Sean Ivory

San José, Costa Rica…A Festival for Treble Choruses

Explore diverse music from around the world while experiencing the relaxed culture & biodiversity of Costa Rica; visit volcanoes, waterfalls, national parks and villages. Rehearsals are interspersed with hikes and zip-lines, wildlife and hanging bridges, all culminating in a mountain-top concert experience together with the national youth choir of Costa Rica.


Artistic Directors

Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory are back for another presentation of this wildly popular festival! Among the choral field's most popular composers, their work has earned a beloved stature in the standard choral repertoire, often performed and recorded by the world’s finest ensembles. Their music has been telecast on PBS and A&E and performed at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Sydney Opera House, and throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. They have been commissioned by the Crescent City Choral Festival in New Orleans, the Children in Harmony Festival at Walt Disney World, the Sing A Mile High Choral Festival in Denver and ACDA Southern Division. In one way or another, their music has been featured at every national conference of ACDA for over a decade. The National Endowment for the Arts has funded three different commissioning projects allowing them to create new works for American choruses.

Paul is Artistic Director of the Youth Choral Theater of Chicago. In recognition of his work in this capacity, he and his chorus were awarded the 2006 Chorus America/ASCAP prize for Adventurous Programming. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Chorus America. In this capacity, he chairs Chorus America's Committee on Programs and Education and serves on the organization's Executive Committee. He was honored for his contribution to the choral community nationwide at the 2008 National Performing Arts Conference when he was selected as the recipient of Chorus America's Michael J. Korn Founders Award for Philanthropic Contribution to the Arts. His recent guest conducting engagements include the Jr. High Honor Choir for ACDA Southern Division and the Festival Vocalizze in Portugal.

Sean directs the Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Chorus, an affiliate organization of the Grand Rapids Symphony.  The ensemble maintains a heavy schedule of appearances with the orchestra (Carmina Burana, On the Transmigration of Souls) in addition to its independent concert series.  Sean is also the choral director at Forest Hills Central High School and an affiliate artist with the Youth Choral Theater of Chicago.  He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with his wife Leah and their children, Emma, Samuel and Meredith.

Musical Experience

Kids singing on Canta Costa Rica 2013 tourComposer/Conductors Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory lead a festival chorus of singers from North America and Costa Rica through an exploration of music from diverse cultures world wide.  Nearly twenty years ago, Caldwell and Ivory's Hope for Resolution was one of the pieces which ignited the world music movement in the choral field.  Today, the world seems smaller.  But the choral landscape is bigger and broader.  Experience it in person with Caldwell and Ivory, the choral field's most dynamic world music team.  The event includes improvisatory collaborations with Costa Rican instrumentalists, a musical exchanges with the National Youth Chorus of Costa Rica, festival rehearsals and a final concert in San José's National Auditorium Theater.



Day 1

  • Arrival
  • Welcome dinner and celebration
  • Evening rehearsal

Day 2Kids on the Canta Costa Rica 2012 tour

  • Morning excursion to INBio Park including lunch
  • Afternoon rehearsal
  • Evening dinner and rehearsal

Day 3

  • Morning excursion to La Paz Waterfall Gardens including lunch
  • Afternoon rehearsal
  • Dinner, entertainment and dancing

Day 4

  • Morning dress rehearsal
  • Lunch with local choir
  • Afternoon departure for Arenal
  • Dinner

Day 5

  • Sky Tram & Sky Trek tour
  • Arenal Hanging Bridges tour
  • Dinner

Day 6

  • Morning exploration of the town of La Fortuna
  • Afternoon visit to Poás Volcano
  • Return to San José
  • Farewell dinner

Day 7

  • Departure


Arenal Volcano, Costa RicaCosta Rica is one of the world’s favorite tourist destinations. Known for its amazing biodiversity packed into its small size, Costa Rica offers a richness of plants and animals, cities and beaches, volcanoes and rainforests that you won’t find anywhere else on the planet. It is the home of the canopy tour, a must-do activity invented here, that lets you soar through the jungle for a view previously reserved for monkeys and macaws. Easy day trips from Costa Rica's colonial capital San José include white-water rafting, coffee plantation tours, volcanoes, waterfalls and more. And we won’t let you leave without a glimpse of some of the country’s birds, butterflies, monkeys, sloths, snakes, frogs and jaguars.

Man making hats in Costa RicaThe people of Costa Rica (known as Ticos) are friendly, polite and helpful.  Their warm welcome will surely be one of the most memorable parts of your visit!  Ticos are extremely family oriented and love music and dance.  You’ll hear music everywhere and all the time.  The country is home to an opera company, one of the first professional choirs in Central America, a state-subsidized youth orchestra, and several well-known children’s chorales.


La Paz Waterfall, Costa RicaThe festival schedule includes a number of outings to explore the wild side of Costa Rica, including:

  • Hiking to the top of an active volcano
  • Visiting a wildlife refuge to see native species
  • Cooling off in the spray of La Paz Waterfalls

    Kids Ziplining on the Canta Costa Rica 2013 tour

  • Zip-lining through the rainforest canopy
  • Hiking hanging bridges in the cloud forest
  • Swimming in volcanic hot springs
  • Additional concert opportunities for your group

Highlights of Canta Costa Rica 2013


I have been on many, many choir tours, both as a parent and as a choir staffer. Canta Costa Rica 2013 was simply the best choir tour our group has ever taken. It was a perfect blend of wonderful musical experiences and great fun, set against the backdrop of the incredible natural beauty of Costa Rica. The tour was well-organized, the accommodations were great, the tour guides were knowledgeable, and the food was AMAZING. I would absolutely recommend any choir to participate in the Canta Costa Rica festival.

Alison Warford
Blair Children's Chorus Administrator

I tend to look at choir tours from multiple perspectives - the most important being the musical and logistic aspects. In this regard, Canta Costa Rica was a first-class festival all the way. We had passionate and knowledgeable clinicians, excellent accommodations, incredible food, and unforgettable excursions. Still, the most important part of any tour is the music. We were especially honored to have performance collaborations with a fine Costa Rican youth choir, as well as other choirs from the US. Our performance was well attended and enthusiastically received. Witte also set up a separate performance for our choir alone at a church venue, in front of a packed church in La Fortuna at the base of the Arenal volcano. I highly recommend this festival to any youth choir who is looking for not just a fine travel experience, but a powerful musical experience as well.

Tucker Biddlecombe
Director of Choral Activities
Vanderbilt University


If you would like more information or a festival brochure, please contact us at 800 GO WITTE or complete this form.

Thank you for your interest!

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