SHS Chorus Travels Through France

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PC: Elias Hairatidis ’19

“I actually found it to be one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” said Megan Galbo ’20. For the duration of February break, a group of chorus students traveled and toured throughout France. They were accompanied by SHS Choir Teacher Michael Schmidt, Music Secretary Patricia Gaffney, and Music and Performing Arts Department Chair Craig Sherman. The ensemble sang at multiple venues with other French choruses in both Paris and cities in the south of France.

“The main focus of what we were there to do was to be musicians, to be artists; but, in addition to that, we had a lot of fun. There was a lot of joking going on and a lot of teenage craziness,” described Schmidt. Although the students had rehearsals and schedules planned out for each day, they still enjoyed lots of free time to explore the cities and beaches. “We had no worries—we were just enjoying it,” said Galbo about the happy and relaxed atmosphere of the trip.

The student-teacher bond grew due to the opportunity to spend time together outside of school. “[The teachers] were just one of us. They thought about what we wanted to experience, and they made that happen for us,” explained Galbo. Throughout the whole experience, the teachers acted more as mentors than as classical instructors, building lasting relationships with their students.

“I just want to say that this trip was an amazing experience, and that I learned a ton of new things, and I definitely want to do something like this again,” said Michael Kostyatnikov ’20. The group was able to indulge in French culture by visiting museums, admiring architecture, and trying new French cuisine, including pâté and escargot. “Every night we had something new and challenging in the menu. Some people loved it, some people said ‘no way’,” explained Schmidt.

Despite early-morning wake-up calls, delayed flights and train rides, new food, and a language barrier in a foreign land, Galbo still encourages the trip for anyone who does music. “If you have the opportunity in general to go on school trip, do it. You will have a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will definitely be worth it,” urged Galbo.