A group trip to New York City may seem stressful- especially when it’s a trip meticulously composed of 113 choir kids from the West Coast, all high school students. The trip that I went on this spring break can’t compare to any other trip I’ve been on in my entire life. I truly had an amazing experience with 113 of my best friends, taking part in some amazing experiences that I’ll never forget throughout my life.
Our journey to the city began with a red-eye flight on March 21st, on which I got no sleep at all. As the plane began to descend, I peered out the window and gawked at the bright lights of the city, which I had never before seen from the sky.
It was my third visit to the city, but my first arrival by plane, I had usually ridden an Amtrak train with fellow family members from a small town in Upstate New York. Once we had landed, my entire group was loaded onto a bus at 5am to take us to a small storage room where we were able to drop all of our luggage. This storage room did happen to be by our hotel, however, we weren’t allowed to go to our rooms until later that night.
We started by splitting up our large party of 113 into slightly smaller groups. My group first toured the 9/11 Memorial, which was very emotional for myself and mostly everyone in my group. The whole tour moved me completely and made me feel so grateful that I have such a safe everyday life. As I moved through the museum, it became clearer to me that in past trips to New York, I had missed one of the best parts of the city, and that I had to return again to continue paying my respects to everyone involved in the event.
As we exited the museum and finished up a quick lunch, subway passes were quickly passed around as we jumped on the Q train to reach the Winter Garden Theatre, which is the current home of School of Rock! We arrived just in time for the show, and took our seats up in the mezzanine.
The theatre was absolutely beautiful and all of the cast members, especially the children and those who played instruments, were talented beyond belief. I was in awe the entire show and on the edge of my seat. After the show, we had a talk back with all of the kids in the cast alongside several other schools, in which we learned more of the behind-the-scenes info about being a kid on Broadway.
The next morning, we all rode a subway to the New York Public Library and were set free by our chaperones to view the area before meeting back at a small park to set off on our next adventure. We hustled down the street to a tall building, which held Ripley Grier Studios– home to master classes and Broadway auditions galore. I participated in a master class with my own choir with one of the dance captains of Wicked! The class flew by as we headed down to dinner and then to the August Wilson Theater to see a preview of Groundhog Day: The Musical!
I had no idea what to expect walking into see a show that had only began it’s Broadway previews about a week prior. I had seen the news on social media about the show, but had no expectations whatsoever.
The show was absolutely spectacular, and one of my favorites that I’ve ever seen. The female lead, Barrett Doss, was absolutely breathtaking (click here to hear her sing)! I turned to my best friend, Alexis, who was watching alongside me, and whispered, “I could listen to her voice forever”. The actress had a strong voice that carried throughout the entire auditorium and still sounded light and airy. She was amazing and as soon as I arrived home to the West coast, I preordered the cast album right away.
One of the best highlights of my trip was our night at the “Cotton Club” in Harlem. The entire choir rode buses over to the famous jazz club and when we entered, we got to select as much food as we wanted from a large potluck style buffet. The food was some of the fanciest selections I’d ever seen, and was paired with great drinks and dessert. We all got to dance on a small floor, supported by the loud sounds of a great jazz band.
Our last major stop on the trip was the night we had all been waiting for since last July. Our debut at the famous Carnegie Hall, which was even more beautiful in person than any of the pictures I had been shown in the months prior to the performance. Prior to going onstage, my choir and I sat on the fifth-floor balcony and watched the several other choirs sing their hearts out onstage. When it was our turn to take the stage I couldn’t take my eyes off the ocean of people in the audience, it was an experience that still hasn’t completely hit me almost two weeks later.
To end our trip on a high note, we had our last day’s breakfast at “Ellen’s Stardust Diner“.
All of our waiters were insanely talented and I can’t wait to come back and see them all on Broadway one day.
New York was absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to go back one day! Thank you to Camp Broadway for letting me share my experiences and I hope that I can visit “the greatest city in the world” again soon!