About seven years ago I joined a local all city choir called The Olympia Youth Chorus www.olympiayouthchorus.org/. Ever since then, I have had more amazing experiences than many people have in their lives. Two summers ago, my director sent in tapes of our Chamber Choir to a festival in England [The Somerset International Children’s Choral Festival]. We were accepted! The next summer, we jetted off to England.
When we arrived we had our very own coach bus to take us around the country. Our first stop was Stonehenge. To see that was really amazing in how old and historical it was. The festival was set in Sherborne and we stayed in the all boys’ school dorms. After much practicing, all five choirs that were there, headed to the small town of Wells and we sang in the magnificent Wells Cathedral. [candidchatter.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/wells_cathedral.jpg]
When we were done with the festival, our choir toured around the rest of England and sang in different cathedrals. Our next stop after Wells, was Stratford-Upon-Avon and we stayed at the Alvenston Manor [which was my favorite place: www.sportseventstravel.co.uk/motorsport/Alveston.jpg]. We sang in the Holy Trinity Church where William Shakespeare is buried. We also went into his home as a child that is now a museum. After our tour and concert, we headed to Oxford University and toured around the whole campus. We ended up visiting the dining hall in which Harry Potter was filmed. It is much smaller in person than it looks in the movie. We couldn’t believe how big Oxford was. As Washingtonians, we fit right in with our umbrellas, which everyone there carries around due to the same weather types as we have here at home.
Finally our last stop was London. We couldn’t wait to get there and shop to our hearts’ content. On our way there, we stopped at the Windsor Castle which is the official summer residence of the Queen. We were almost run over by her guards [they were very intense]. We ended up singing at Christ Church for a lunchtime recital. We had many people show up off the streets to come and listen. One of the songs that we sang was “Homeland”, by Z. Randall Stroope. It truly is a very powerful song that had the whole audience in tears as our voices rang through the cathedral walls. Through out the three days we were in London we rode the “London Underground” many times [which is like the subway], we did more shopping than we probably should have and saw so many beautiful statues, palaces, houses, and people. On our final night, we went to the Broadway show Wicked. After the play, we actually met the main actor in Wicked on our subway. So, of course, we posed in lots of pictures with him. It was so fun! I loved the experience of being in London, seeing a Broadway play, and riding the Underground back to our hotel.
We were in England for seven days and it seemed like we picked up so much history and cultural awareness that we all went back to the states with a perspective of a world outside of what we knew. Getting up early and going to bed very late on top of the time difference was so worth it. Being able to say that I got to do something as extraordinary as go to England and see what I saw is a great experience that will always be with me.
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