Thirty-seven drama, music, and art enthusiasts experienced a week-long trip of a lifetime to New York City over half term.
The group performed concerts at three prestigious venues: The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine (the largest cathedral in the world), Saint Malachy Church (known as The Actors’ Church, where Alec Guinness and Gregory Peck were parishioners, Joan Crawford got married, and Rudolph Valentino’s funeral was held), and the progressive Riverside Church, where Martin Luther King frequently preached. All of these venues were inspirational, and the group sang, played, and tap danced for appreciative locals and visitors.
After the Riverside concert, the group was treated to a tour of Manhattan School of Music and attended a rehearsal of their women’s chorus, who were preparing for a concert of music by Brahms.
‘They’re singing in German!’ exclaimed Jana Lima, who grew up speaking the language in Germany. Pupils were excited by the school’s state-of-the-art practice facilities and historic alumni pictured along the corridors.
‘Seeing Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway was a spectacular treat,’ said Director of Music, Mr George Tinsley, who led the group. ‘The girls were taught a complicated and exotic routine by one the show’s dancers at their step-by-step workshop at Chelsea Studios.
‘On another day, pupils learned to throw fake punches and choreograph a safe stage fight, overseen by a professional Broadway fight coordinator. Pupils gained inside information through question and answer sessions led by two of Aladdin’s actors.’
Several of the drama, music, and art students this trip have based their coursework on Salvador Dalí’s Persistence of Memory, the iconic “melting clock” painting. They were able to see this, and many other famous works, at the Museum of Modern Art.
Pupils also experienced some of New York’s finest Art Deco architecture, along with jaw-dropping views from the observation deck of the Empire State Building.
New York food was a big hit with the pupils on this trip, and everyone’s favourite restaurant was Ellen’s Stardust Diner, where the waiters took turns on stage belting out songs from the shows, culminating in a rousing, banner-waving rendition of One Day More from Les Misérables.
After four days of culture and sightseeing, the trip ended on a high with a two-hour private coach tour of over 60 movie and TV filming locations throughout Manhattan. Group photos were taken outside the Friends apartment building and the fire station from Ghostbusters, and everyone marvelled at the luxury apartment buildings of stars including Taylor Swift and Beyonce. The day concluded with shopping at South Street Seaport and a visit to the World Trade Centre memorial fountains.
‘It was a tremendous trip, packed with cultural adventures and educational experiences,’ said Mr Tinsley.