My junior year of high school, all the choirs went to the most popular tourist destination in the United States, New York City (NYC). I have to say I was really excited to go somewhere out of state. The only place my family had gone was to Disney World when I was in fourth grade, which I hardly remember. I was so excited to see the sites that I’ve heard so much about and go to places that I’ve seen in my favorite movies. We got into the city about 6:30 AM and went over to the set of The Today Show. Paula Abdul was scheduled to perform, but unfortunately we left before she got there. I did get to see the weatherman Al Roker! After breakfast, we went to the next item on our tour, Times Square. It was so overwhelming! I couldn’t believe the amount of people on the sidewalks and in every store. It was a site that we have never seen before, coming from a fairly small town. Vendors were at every corner trying to sell us knock-off purses and watches, which got old fast. Every store was so large, especially the Toys ‘R Us store with a Ferris wheel and life-size Lego characters! After a few hours sightseeing, our choir performed at the Times Square Visitor’s Center. I can honestly say that this was the worse moment of the trip because there was no audience except our chaperones. After dinner, we went to the top of the Empire State Building and saw the whole city at night. It was so breathe taking and amazing, despite the strong winds messing up our hair. I couldn’t take enough pictures. People pointed out famous sites in NYC that we couldn’t visit on our trip, like the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park. The next morning, we had a music clinic with the talented singer Judith Clurman. Having someone so talented help us with our voices was a huge honor. We then went to the Statue of Liberty to take in the historic site. Seeing something that so many people have seen was surreal. Saturday night, we went to the much anticipated show, The Lion King on Broadway. It was an amazing show that was more than ever expected! In my opinion, Sunday morning was the most life changing for myself and I’m sure for my classmates as well. As we went past Ground Zero (the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks), the loud roar coming from our bus suddenly quieted. We all took pictures and everyone could feel the mood dramatically shift. We performed in St. Paul’s Chapel, the sanctuary for the firefighters and the rescued people that day. I noticed that the words in our songs actually brought tears to the crowd of people in the church. After we sang, we took time to look at the memorials set up around the church. This was the defining moment of the entire trip. It was so incredible how all the visitors seemed to be united by the tragedy and the remains. It changed the way I look at things, and how I now cherish my life and the lives of my loved ones forever. The whole experience of the trip was my first away from my parents. I learned that I can take care of myself away from home, even if it was just a school trip. I learned to be more adventurous and less afraid with huge crowds of people around me. I loved my time in NYC and I would go back in a heartbeat.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.