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Premed Student Performs for Pope

Auditioning to sing for the pope would be nerve-wracking for most people, but Armando Huaringa’s pulse had an extra reason to race. “It was the first time I had ever auditioned to sing,” he confesses. “It was intense—especially when I heard the person in front of me, and he sounded immaculate. I was thinking, ‘There goes my chance.’”

The recent premedical post-baccalaureate program graduate must have performed well despite his apprehension. He was awarded a spot in the tenor section of the Papal Choir that sang nearly a dozen songs during Pope Benedict XVI’s mass at Nationals Stadium on April 17, 2008. “The best parts for me were whenever we could hear the whole congregation singing with us,” Huaringa recalls. “The spirit of the choir is to sing with them. Otherwise, it’s just performing.”

Over two months, choir members completed a rigorous rehearsal schedule and a no-absence policy that yielded no exceptions. “There were some nuns who had a mandatory [forum] with their order, so they couldn’t come to one of the rehearsals, and even they got bumped,” says Huaringa, adding with a laugh, “It was really sad when, all of a sudden, Sister Maria was replaced with someone else.”

 

Balancing Science with Music

Huaringa has been singing in church choirs since he was in high school; more recently, he sang with AU’s Catholic Student Association to offset his rigorous premedical studies. “It’s pretty important [to me] to be a well-rounded person,” he explains. “My science background is what I work on most, but at the same time, I know it’s important to not be focused on just one thing—you don’t get to enjoy life if you’re too over-obsessed.”