The music stops. There is a brief moment of silence interrupted by a roaring crowd. I watch the audience in front of me rise from their seats to a standing ovation. My director, Dr. John Rutter, takes his bow, and I try my best to take it all in. I have just finished a performance of Mozart’s Requiem in New York City’s Carnegie Hall, and it’s like I can feel the spirit and excitement of all the music greats who graced this stage before me. I will never forget this trip to New York. Not only for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study Mozart extensively but also because of the culture that surrounded me. My visit to New York expanded my life experiences, everything from the excitement of Broadway, to the people of Little Italy, to the tender atmosphere of Ground Zero, has encouraged me to become a better person today.
In preparation for our 50 member choir trip to New York City, our choir director warned us that in New York it is about class, and polished presentation. “This is New York City,” She’d say “and only the best cheesecake will do.” If any of us doubted that after we walked in to the elegant Hyatt Hotel next to Grand Central Station, we no longer did after two nights on Broadway. We watched The Lion King and Phantom of the Opera and those were two of the best bites of cheesecake I have ever had! The performances were impeccable and so inspiring!
On the third day of our trip, our rehearsals ended in the morning so our group went to Little Italy. We walked by decorations of red, green, and white and had lunch at La Mela on Mulberry Street. The service was amazing! The Italian staff was so pleasant, and lighthearted. We got a taste of their personality, clothing, and lifestyle as well as their delicious food!
It is the best trip I have taken but also the most exhausting. We lost three hours of sleep flying from the west coast to the east, and we spent most of our mornings and afternoons rehearsing our music. We may have been tired, but in a New York Minute, there is no time for rest. There is so much to see and so little time! I will never forget the inspiration I felt from Broadway, or the smiles on the faces of the people in Little Italy. Most of all, I will never forget the feeling I had while visiting Ground Zero.
After Little Italy we continued our tour through the city and stopped at Ground Zero. The first thing we saw getting off of the bus was a cross made from the remainders of the towers, and it reminded us of the tragedy that took place when most of us were about ten to twelve years old. We then walked across the street to St. Paul’s Chapel and we were reminded of the heroes of nine-eleven, the firefighters, the policemen, and the paramedics. We walked to the front of the church, joined hands, and sang “O Vos Omnes” to honor those heroes. It was without a doubt the most moving experience of my life, I could not make it through this song about sacrifice without tears streaming down my face. I realized right at that moment exactly how proud I am to be an American.
After this trip, I am able to apply my directors advice in my daily life. I will always remember that: “This is my life, and only the best cheesecake will do.”
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