Orchestras shine in NYC
By Peter Atkins
All four of Perrysburg High School’s orchestras, seniors through freshman, traveled to New York City for the WorldStrides Music Festival, a high school music competition with schools from the United States and Canada.
The Yellow Jackets were well represented.
“Out of 11 schools, Perrysburg was the sweepstakes winner, being the high school with the highest overall score,” said Michael Smith, one of the two orchestra directors at PHS. Two of the Perrysburg orchestras finished with a gold superior rating, and the other two received a silver excellent rating.
Out of the four orchestra’s, Symphony Strings, the high schools top orchestra, placed first in the top orchestra category.
“Symphony were the champion of the whole thing,” Mr. Smith said. “They received first place in their category, with the best overall performing group.”
Chris Bellavia, a senior member of Concert Orchestra, thought they could’ve done better too. The Concert Orchestra combines juniors and seniors.
“We didn’t play our best, but we definitely played very well,” he said.
With concert orchestras high rating contributing to the overall Perrysburg score.
“All four groups did an amazing job, I’m very happy with them,” Mr. Smith said.
The orchestra was also able to travel around the New York, even though arriving later than expected. The orchestra left PHS at 10 p.m. on April 10 from PHS, with intentions of arriving at a Cracker Barrel outside of New York City for breakfast at 7 o’clock the next morning.
One bus broke down about an hour away from the restaurant.
“A turbo on the bus broke,” Mr. Smith said. “But the students on the bus were very flexible.”
Unfortunately, the trip was four hours behind by the time all three buses left the Cracker Barrel, which was around 40 minutes outside of New York City in New Jersey.
“I really wanted to go to New York to see the city,” junior Kayla Chanthavong said. “I saw everything on the cruise.”
She was referring to a dinner cruise after the award ceremony. Students got to go out on the Hudson River and see the city skyline at night, along with the Statue of Liberty.
Students on the trip also got to see a Broadway show, being able to choose from Mama Mia, Chicago, Les Miserable, and It Should Have Been You. The orchestra also made stops at the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, and the 9/11 Ground Zero Memorial.
“Ground Zero was very moving,” Mr. Smith said. He had never seen the memorial before. “The biggest challenge was getting people place to place with traffic.”
He said with 164 students it was a challenge getting people from place to place with the traffic.
New York City, with a population of 8 million, was not to big for Perrysburg. The orchestras perform at a high level across the country.