By Laura Waters (New Hope-Solebury Class of 2015)
In today’s world, a global education and experience abroad are highly desirable, and a six-day music program trip “across the pond” by 99 New Hope-Solebury students in February certainly fit the bill. Not only did they tour historic sites, but the orchestra, concert band, and the choir also performed two concerts — one at the Southwark Cathedral in London and another at the La Madeleine church in Paris.
The jazz band, which was unable to play in the concerts, attended a master class at the London Centre of Contemporary Music, where they were critiqued on their playing (each student performed several bars of music solo) and taught some new techniques that audiences will be sure to hear at the next New Hope-Solebury jazz band concert.
Along with the theme of global education, the students were able to see two of the richest museums in the Western world today: the British Museum and the Louvre. They saw incredible pieces of history, including the Rosetta Stone and the Mona Lisa. There were hours of tours and experiences, including the exploration of the Tower of London and a Thames river cruise, as well as the chance to walk around Buckingham Palace and the surrounding park.
In Paris, activities included climbing the 387 steps to the top of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, and riding the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower. The jazz band was able to go to a jazz club in Paris to hear some sets played live, which students like senior Maia VanValkenburg will remember as a “very groovy” experience.
It is impossible to forget, however, the main point of the trip — to bring the music from New Hope all the way across the Atlantic. That is something the students pulled off with flying colors, or colours, as the English write. Both concerts turned out an impressive attendance, allowing the students to shine for as many people as possible. The seats of La Madeleine were filled, as were the ears of all who attended.
But, while being in Paris meant fresh croissants every morning, there comes a time when we all must come home. The students of New Hope-Solebury were given an experience in this trip, or rather an adventure, that they will likely never forget, and a taste of a global education that will serve them well in the years to come.