Music trips enrich cultural perspectives


Playing for the people on Pier 39: the high school’s Music Collective plays an outdoor concert on San Francisco’s famous pier in 2016. The group travels every two years to experience new music culture. PROVIDED BY JASON ALTSHULER

Sarah Hughes, Staff Writer

A crowd gathers around a small group of musicians on a pier in San Francisco. The beautiful sound of jazz drifts across the dock, drawing more people into the audience to watch the high school’s Jazz Band/Music Collective perform.

Trips provide bonding within a musical group, as well as a chance to meet new people and explore music from different cultures.

According to senior Alice Jennings, who went on the trip during April break, San Francisco was influential for jazz, in terms of its artistic history and unique culture.

“It’s so different, and it’s so refreshing,” Jennings said. “It definitely helped us expand how we thought about music.”

During the trip, the group got to play for a range of audiences, including a group of veterans. Jennings said that the veterans seemed unresponsive to their playing at first, but later told the band how much they appreciated it.

Another memorable experience during the trip came when the jazz band played a traditional Persian dance tune.

“When we played it outside there was a Persian couple and family that came up,” Jennings said. “They recognized it because it’s famous , and then they started dancing and singing.”

She added that the trip was a great bonding experience for the jazz band and the group became very close. Additionally, the jazz band got the opportunity to meet a lot of local San Franciscans.

According to director of Camerata Dr. Michael Driscoll, the Camerata Choir anticipates the same on their upcoming trip to Spain during February break, where they will be visiting Madrid, Seville, and Cordoba. The choir will sing an array of American songs, as well as some choral music from the Spanish Renaissance. The group will also get a chance to visit cultural attractions and museums in Spain.

Sophomore Callie Rabinovitz is looking forward to the trip, and says the group has been doing fundraising to prepare.

“It is an expensive trip for so many kids to fly on the plane, we’ve already raised some money. We’re selling tickets, and we’re having a wine and cheese fundraiser,” Rabinovitz said. “So, it will be good.”

Dr. Driscoll hopes that the group will have some great performances in Spain, both for local audiences and with a native Spanish singing ensemble.

“It’s always a good thing to get to know people from different cultures and find areas of common ground,” Driscoll said. “I think that helps build bridges worldwide, and music is a universal language and it has a special ability to break down barriers.”

He also commented on the value of building community within the chorus.

“I hope also that for the students going it will be a memorable musical experience, but also an opportunity to get to know people in the chorus better,” Driscoll said.

Dr. Driscoll says that the Camerata Choir’s past trips have gone well and created a strong connection between group members.

“It’s incredible being with all your friends and fellow singers for a week,” Driscoll said. “It’s memories that will last a lifetime.”