Headline moments from the seven day trip included seeing the Broadway performance of the multi-Tony award-winning musical Once and multiple recitals by the College’s Choir, which were received with rapturous applause.
Yet while the US can often appear synonymous with glitz and glamour, the group worked hard and stuck to a jam packed schedule. From plane to train and boat to bus there was no stopping the cohort once they set foot in Massachusetts, clad in their Hurst red t-shirts.
First was a tour of the beautiful Wang Theatre followed by a performance of The Witches Cottage in Salem. Back to Boston it was then time to watch the John Williams Independence Day concert held at Memorial Drive.
With half of the tour complete they then moved by rail to the home of American theatre, New York.
Staying on Seventh Avenue, the group journeyed through the streets of Manhattan en route to the Harlem Jazz Museum, a Broadway 101 workshop and then the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre for the highly acclaimed, Once.
However this was never just about experiencing the great and famous of the tuneful and theatrical worlds. Taking a more rounded approach, Heads of Music and Drama, Neil Matthews and Nicholas Beeby, took full advantage of many of the city’s attractions.
Amid visits to tourist icons such as the Statue of Liberty, the Rockefeller Centre and Central Park, the students also visited the NBC studios and the Museum of Modern Art.
Perhaps one of the most touching moments, however, was Dialogue in the Dark; a fascinating experience using every sense but sight to go on a virtual tour of NYC, led by a blind person.
Commenting upon his return to Hurst, Nicholas Beeby said, “Many people were moved by the experience of being blind, albeit only for an hour. Others found the choral services very moving. For the adults in the group, one of the most heart-warming aspects was hearing the students sing superbly with such joy and passion.”
The choir was certainly put through its paces. On the last day before returning home former opera singer and church music director Kamel Boutros delivered a whirlwind and demanding rehearsal. Kamel also performed a mixture of his own work and a selection of the church’s with their resident band.
Neil Matthews, delighted by the trip’s success said, “All students engaged with range of activities, some beyond their comfort zones and have grown greatly as a result. They all forged firm friendships, both within and beyond those in the party.”
The students will take the benefit of their extended experiences into next year’s studies and will no doubt look to recreate some of the sparkle that show time America leaves in the eye of every visitor.
25 May 2013