Maltese soprano Anita Vella Bondin was recently given the opportunity to sing solo the Maltese version of the Marian anthem As I Kneel Before You (music by Maria Parkinson) at the Aux Flambeaux procession which takes place every evening at the National Shrine of Lourdes.
Four women from the Santa Venera parish choir also sang an excerpt from the Lourdes Hymn and an altar girl from the same parish said part of the fifth decade of the rosary, both in Maltese.
The process that led to Vella Bondin’s performance was initiated by Michael Caruana, tour leader and author of the book Pass, Pass f’Lourdes u fil-Madwar at the beginning of May. Her participation was confirmed in late August by Frèdèric Dupuy, the new choirmaster of the sanctuary.
Second time that a Maltese person sang solo
Vella Bondin was originally allowed to sing only one strophe but after hearing her, the choirmaster asked her twice to continue.
This was the second time in recent years that a Maltese person was given the opportunity to sing solo during the Aux Flambeaux procession, which is attended by thousands of pilgrims from all over the world.
Vella Bondin has already performed solo in concerts organised by APS Bank and a concert at Bella Pais Abbey in Cyprus, among others, besides performing in concerts at St John’s Co-Cathedral, St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral and at the Manoel Theatre in Valletta. She also sings with the Goldberg Ensemble, the Cappella Musicale Caeciliana and the Santa Venera parish choir.