NATCHITOCHES, LA (KSLA) - Members of an ArkLaTex choir are packing up their music sheets and preparing to fly to Budapest, Hungary, for an international choral competition.
For Northwestern State senior Eric Bourg, four years of dedicated hard work finally are paying off.
"To think that we're going and competing in a different country across the world is almost surreal."
Bourg and 37 other members of the Natchitoches-based school's choir will leave for Hungary on May 13 to compete on the global stage against a number of other university and professional choirs.
"I think we have a good chance at winning," NSU Choir Director Nicholaus Cummins said.
"It's a life-changing experience ... to go to central Europe and go and compete in a place where 25 years ago we might not be able to go to."
Members of Northwestern State's Chamber Choir and Lyric Women's Chorale will compete in the Laurea Mundi Choral Competition in Budapest.
This is the first time a Louisiana university choir has competed in a competition of this magnitude, Cummins said.
"We have to do an application process where we send recordings. And we had to get letters of reference from national figures in choral music in the United States."
While there, the groups also will perform a concert in the Basilica of St. Mary in Krakow, Poland.
Bourg said his bonds with his fellow choir members make this international trip all the more meaningful as his graduation looms.
"The fact that I get to go to Europe ... and compete with a group of people I love makes me so excited. We bonded over music for the past four years."
Cummins hopes the competition places Northwestern State's choir program on the international radar.
The school's choir members are scheduled to return May 24.