Music Trip to Boston

Wind Ensemble taking a group picture with their trophy.

Wind Ensemble taking a group picture with their trophy.

Jillian Thibodeau, Editor

On April 27th and April 28th, South Windsor High School’s Chamber Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Treble Choir, and Choral Spectrum all spent the weekend in Boston, Massachusetts. The weekend consisted of all the groups competing in a competition held by the ‘Festivals of Music’ at Duxbury High School, as well as the groups all going to Boston and having fun with their classmates.

The trip started off with the four music groups travelling to Duxbury via coach buses around 6:30 on Saturday morning. After about two hours stuck on buses, the students arrived at Duxbury High School and got ready for their performances. During the time that each group had to wait before they competed, many students ate lunch, relaxed, played games, and practiced their competition pieces. However, some groups had to wait longer than others because each group performed at different times. The first group to perform from South Windsor was Choral Spectrum. They went to the warm up room at 11:00am and then to the stage at 11:30am. Soon after, Wind Ensemble did the same but at 12:15pm and 12:45pm. This continued with Treble Choir warming up at 1:30pm and competing at 2:00pm, and Chamber Orchestra warming up at 2:15pm and performing at 2:45pm. Although the groups had to warm up alone in the warm up room, students could still watch their fellow classmates perform in the auditorium. For the most part, students who did this were very respectful towards the groups that were performing and cheered them on when the groups finished their performances. After each group walked off stage, they were led to a room for a personal clinic that was held by one of the adjudicators that judged them. This is where one of the judges told them what they thought about their performance and what they should do for the pieces to sound better. Each group got some advice from the adjudicator and changed the way they played. The clinic lasted about half an hour, and then the groups went back to the cafeteria where all of their belongings were located. They then either went back to hanging out with their friends or went to go watch the next group compete. Only three of the four groups were able to relax after their performance and clinic, because as soon as Chamber Orchestra came back from their clinic, everyone was getting ready to leave Boston.

At this moment, every student and teacher grabbed their things and got on whichever bus that they signed up for prior to the trip. Once the buses left Duxbury High School, they were on their way to the restaurant ‘Fire and Ice’. It was about a forty minute bus ride and they arrived to the restaurant around 4:45pm. Unfortunately the reservation was set for 5:30pm, so everyone had to wait about 45 minutes to go inside and have dinner.

Once the students were inside the restaurant and settled in, they were called up to get their food by table. ‘Fire and Ice’ is very different than your typical restaurant, as there is no menu. You have to go over to where all the food is and put it in a bowl for the people at the grill to cook. It is kind of like a hibachi restaurant where they cook the food in front of you, but you pick food from all of the options that they have. You can put whatever you want in your bowl, there are so many different options. You can choose from pasta, rice, chicken, vegetables… pretty much anything. There are also options for vegans and vegetarians. Aside from the food that they offer, there are many sauces to choose. You put one of these sauces in a separate dish and then go to the grill for them to cook your food. First, they will put all of the food in your bowl, then onto the grill to cook it. After the food is actually cooked, they will put the sauce onto it, and then it’s done. Overall, many students really liked the restaurant and enjoyed the food. Not only this, but many loved the fact that they could go up as many times as they wanted to get more food.

People waiting around the grill at Fire and Ice for their food to be ready.

After dinner, everyone was offered plain vanilla ice cream and went to the toppings bar to put whatever candy they wanted on top of it. Some people went crazy with the toppings, while others only put a few or no toppings at all on top of the ice cream. Either way, many people enjoyed the ice cream as well. At 7:00pm, everyone was out the door and headed to the Charles Playhouse to watch the Blue Man Group.

The Blue Man Group show started at 8:00pm and ran for about an hour and a half. SWHS students and teachers all sat right in front of the stage in orchestra level seating that was in the middle of the Charles Playhouse. However, those who were in the first few rows closest to the stage got ponchos to wear during the show, because at some point during the show, the members of the Blue Man Group sprayed water at the audience. Of course those sitting at the front had fun with getting hit with water and being more involved in the show, such as when the Blue Men walked on their seats. The people sitting further back still had a great time. The Blue Man Group even picked people in the audience to go on stage and do stuff on stage with them. One student, Andrew Gough, was actually picked to go up on stage with them. The Blue Men put Gough into a full body suit and gave put a helmet to put on his head. They took him backstage and there was a video on stage showing the audience what was happening. They supposedly painted Gaugh blue, hung him by his feet, and slammed him into a giant canvas. Well… that is what the video showed. Obviously, Gough was not actually the person that was being swung into the canvas, but it did seem pretty realistic as they were both wearing the same bodysuit and helmet. When Gough and the Blue Man Group came out from backstage and took off Gough’s helmet, Gough gave a thumbs up while one of the Blue Men gave him an ice pack. Throughout the whole act, the audience laughed a lot and seemed as if they were really enjoying themselves. A little bit after this happened, it was the end of the show and the Blue Man Group’s final act came up. During this act, the Blue Men didn’t do much, there were strobe lights flashing throughout Charles Playhouse and toilet paper coming from the back of the theatre. It doesn’t seem as if it was that interesting, but pretty much everyone watching was having a great time. All in all, so many people enjoyed watching the Blue Man Group show and some even went as far to say that it was their favorite part of the trip.

Clara Gomes-Ferres (left), Francheska Rivera (center-left), Maria Cosme (center-right), and Mason Haley (right) wearing their ponchos at the Blue Man Group show.

Sophomore, Sean Banducci said that, “The show was entertaining and very funny. They played really good music and it added some flair when they put paint on the drums and hit it.” Another student, junior, Kelli Poolman, stated that she “loved the music and the whole experience in general. It was different and going into it I had no idea what was going to happen. It was really cool to be surprised.”

Following the Blue Man Group show, South Windsor High School left the Charles Playhouse and went to the Sheraton Framingham Hotel, which was about half an hour away. They got to the hotel around 10:00pm, and the students went up to their hotel rooms to sleep for the night.

Bright and early the next morning at 6:00am, each and every student got a wake up call. The students had an hour to get up and get ready for breakfast which was served at 7:00am. As soon as they finished getting all of their things together, they headed downstairs to where the breakfast buffet. At breakfast, students ate and talked with their friends. As soon as the clock struck 8:00am, everyone brought their belongings to the buses and got ready to leave for the JFK library; this is where the award ceremony for the competition was being held.

As soon as they arrived to the JFK library, everyone went inside and sat down for the ceremony. It started off with a few people giving speeches and explaining how things would work at the ceremony. Groups that scored in between ninety and one hundred would get a superior rating, groups with eighty to ninety would get an excellent rating, and so on. They also told every group to send two people up to the stage to represent their group and collect their trophy. After all of this was explained, they continued with the ceremony. The first group from our school to be awarded with a trophy was Chamber Orchestra,

Chamber Orchestra’s group picture outside of the JFK library.

who got a superior rating and first place in the String Orchestra High School AA division. Although they were first in their division, they got second overall, they were .6 points behind the group who won first overall. Next was Treble Choir, who got an excellent rating and third in the Women’s High School Choir division. After this, Choral Spectrum received an excellent rating as well and got third in the High School Concert Choir division. Lastly, Wind Ensemble was awarded with a superior rating and first place trophy in the Concert Band AA division. Following this, Wind Ensemble also received a plaque for getting the highest score out of all the bands that competed at the competition. And like that, the competition was over and everyone had their results. After the ceremony, everyone went their own way and explored the museum part of the JFK library.

After learning interesting information about JFK at the library, it was time for everyone to go to their next stop, which was the Museum of Science. However, it took a little while for the buses to get to the library to pick everyone up, so while everyone waited, each group took pictures together. Wind Ensemble and Chamber Orchestra took pictures with their trophies and Treble Choir and Choral Spectrum took a picture with both groups together.

Treble Choir and Choral Spectrum’s group picture.

When the buses arrived at the Museum of Science, it was 11:30am and everyone ate lunch at the food court. After this, many people split up and looked around the museum for a while until it was time for the duck tours at 1:15pm and 1:45pm. One group of thirty-five people went on a duck tour at the first time, and the second group of ninety-five people went on the tour at the second time. Each tour took about one hour and twenty minutes and many people thought that it was an interesting experience. The tour started on land and then went onto the water. On the land part of the tour, the tour guide talked about the history of Boston, explained everything, and got to know the group. After about an hour on land, the driver took the duck out onto the water and let people in the group drive the duck as well. This lasted around twenty minutes and then the driver took over again and took the group back to the museum. As soon as each of the duck tours were finished and everyone was back at the museum, everyone boarded the buses that took them back to South Windsor.

The group that went on the duck tour at 1:15pm

Overall, many people had fun on the trip and were, for the most part, happy with how they performed at the competition. Banducci, who is a member of Choral Spectrum, says that “the best thing we did was probably our dynamics, and I think we can improve personality for our next performance.” Poolman, who is apart of Treble Choir mentions that “we did best with tone, but could improve our stage presence and confidence.” Alexa Shepardson, who is in Chamber Orchestra explains that “We all made eye contact with each other on stage and were able to communicate with one another that way while playing the piece so it really improved how we sounds as a whole. Something we can improve on is being able to listen to each other and improve our intonation.” Lastly, Wind Ensembles Jonathan Gordon says to improve our pieces for the concert. “It’s just a matter of repeating what we did in Boston. We have the ability to play the pieces well, we just have to be focused on listening to the ensemble as we perform. Aside from that, we should try to be even more energetic in ‘Pulse,’” Gordon remarked.

If you’re interested in listening to any of these groups’ music, you can see them all perform Star Wars: Duel of the Fates on May 8th and 9th at SWHS. As well as Wind Ensemble on May 8th at the band concert and Chamber Orchestra on May 9th at the orchestra concert. Lastly, Choral Spectrum and Treble Choir will perform at the Pops concert on May 20th and 21st.