Friday, April 1:
As the early morning started to surface, a group of about 100 students from the CVHS A Cappella choir roamed about San Francisco Airport, waiting for their 7:30 a.m. flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport. After finding our chaperones and roommates for the trip, we boarded the plane with a few parents and some grumpy looking passengers.
After a five and a half hour flight we finally landed in the Big Apple! The air was muggy and half of us were still in a sleepy trance as we waited at baggage claim for our belongings and shuffled outside to wait for the buses. After waiting in the stale New York air for about an hour the late buses pulled up and we struggled with commute traffic into New York City for another hour or so. However, once in the city the excitement and the realization that we were in New York surfaced and energy surged through the group.
After unloading from the buses, going to our (very small) rooms, and meeting with our chaperones to check in, we walked as a group to perform a “flash mob” song in the city. We performed for a bus tour, and then went to Times Square and performed there as well. Finally at around 10:30 p.m. we arrived back at our hotel and went to bed.
Saturday, April 2:
Saturday morning brought a plethera of tired students and the realization of a three hour time change. Students needed to wake up at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time, which was a big shock for most because that is similar to a 4:00 a.m. wake up time on the Western half of the United States. Luckily for all the students we did not leave the hotel until 9:30, this left us with two and a half hours to get our bagel breakfast.
At 9:30 we met up with the rest of our group down in the lobby. When we left the hotel we walked to the subway, and took it to the Statue of Liberty cruise. On this cruise, we were served a full buffet. This buffet included lots of food such as chicken, green beans, and brownies. We did not (unfortunately) get to get off at the Statue of Liberty Island, but we did get close enough to take some great photos with it.
When the cruise ended, we headed to the Hilton Hotel. This hotel was where the choir rehearsals were held. The first rehearsal we had with the guest conductor was a daunting three hours. This is where we met the four other schools that were performing at Carnegie Hall. After this rehearsal we had another hour-long rehearsal with our own choir conductor, we went over the songs for our spotlight performance. When this ended, we promptly headed back to the hotel and went to bed.
Sunday, April 3:
We woke up to donuts and coffee for breakfast and then walked over to the Hilton for our second rehearsal with the large group. After polishing our songs for three hours, we got to go to lunch.
My roommate and I went to a lovely burger place called the Steak and Shake. After we ate, we had some time to kill before we had to meet with our chaperones again so we went souvenir shopping on Broadway.
After lunch was over, the whole group went to see School of Rock, the musical on Broadway. It was amazing! The cast was super talented and it was great to see a Broadway show. After the show, we went to Senor Frogs, a restaurant and karaoke spot with loud music and a fun atmosphere.
After eating (and signing a little) the groups made their way to the Rockefeller Tower, where we went on a tour and were able to explore the top of the building and see the view. Seeing the city at night was beautiful and breath-taking, but the cold wind and chilly air made us thankful to go back to the warm hotel. We got back pretty late (needless to say we all slept very well), but we were all excited for the performance at Carnegie Hall the next day.
Monday, April 4:
Come morning, we had a wake up call of 7:40 a.m. with breakfast at a restaurant. It was after this breakfast that we got our formal attire and began the walk to the Hilton. On our way there we stopped to get lunch and to have 15 minutes of free time to travel around a two-block radius. During this time most students decided to go to the Disney store. After the break we completed the long journey to the Hilton for our final rehearsal. This lasted for three hours, the shortest one we had all week.
And afterwards we all got dressed in our tuxes/dresses, and walked to Carnegie Hall. It was here that we ran through a dress rehearsal of the entire performance. Carnegie started letting people in at 7:30. The performance started at 8:00, and both of our pieces sounded amazing, from the room filling stomps of “Conversion of Saul,” to the softness of “Magnum Mysterium.” When the other choirs joined us onstage for the rest of the performance, the hall seemed to fill with music. The performance officially ended at 10:30, but in our hearts, it seemed to never end. We left the hall to prepare for the after party.This party lasted from 11:30 to 1:00 in the morning and everyone who went found something fun to do. Heading back to the hotel was a long tiring walk, but going to sleep had never been so hard to
Tuesday, April 5:
Our last day in New York was a good, but sad one. We were given some freedom on the morning to do whatever we wanted, so after my group and I got breakfast in the hotel bakery we went shopping in Times Square. The Forever 21 was gigantic, and the Disney store was magical. However, what made all of us the happiest was the Hershey store with ten-pound Kit Kat Bars and home to the largest purschasable Hershey bar in the world. Sadly though we had to return to our hotel room and pack up our things.
After re-loading the buses, we headed to the 9/11 memorial museum. The museum was a modern, powerful, and informational reminder of the tragedy our country suffered. Although it was packed, people were silent and respectful, and both students and chaperones alike were touched by the intense experience.
After the museum we had lunch on our own, and then went to the airport. Then the trip was over, and after saying goodbye to New York we boarded our 7:50 plane. Five and a half hours later we trudged down to baggage claim. Jet lagged, sleep-deprived, sore from walking, and tired. Students started to leave the airport around midnight, to get ready to return to daily life. However, no matter how tiring the trip was, it was an unforgettable experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life.