A few weeks before Burlingame High School students left school for a relaxing week of spring break, BHS’ choir departed on a trip of their own into a place known for music and culture- New Orleans. Because of their stellar performance the prior year at the competition in Disneyland, the choir was offered an invitation by the judges to attend a competition in New Orleans this year.
This year, they attended a competition with choirs from around the country and were competing against choirs at a higher level. Led by choral arts teacher Shawn Reifschneider, they combined with the San Mateo choir and sang an array of pieces, including a piece by James Mulholland entitled “Red, Red, Rose,” which is a song based off of a Robert Burns poem.
“It’s a beautiful love ballad and a really pretty song. I think we performed it well,” senior choir member Cassis Brown said.
Their music choice as well as their cohesiveness as a group led the BHS and San Mateo choir to numerous awards. Their combined choir received a gold second place award as well as the Chamber Singers who received a gold first place. Besides placing highly against other choirs, they were also awards the Adjudicator’s award and an Outstanding Choir award. Choir veterans as well as first year students were all welcome on the trip. Senior Greg Pantazis made the most of his time in New Orleans.
“New Orleans was definitely a cool experience. I also had a lot of fun performing in my first choral competition,” Pantazis said.
When the choir was not busy competing, they toured the city and learned about the food and music of New Orleans. The students even got to visit Preservation Hall where the choir got to listen to a traditional New Orleans-style jazz performance. They also visited the grave of Homer Adolph Plessy, known for his role in the Plessy vs. Ferguson Supreme Court case.
“[The trip] was unique because it was not only great educationally because of the music history, but culturally as well,” Reifschneider stated.
The students who had gone to Disneyland in the past weren’t disappointed that their trip took them to New Orleans this year.
“As much as I love Disneyland, I was very excited to go to New Orleans this year. It was a much different kind of trip because there’s so much music history in New Orleans and it was fun learning about the city’s past,” senior choir member Cassis Brown said.
As for next year, the choir is unsure if they will be taking a large trip again, but Reifschneider is considering returning to Anaheim or potentially a Universal Studios competition, to learn more about the music industry in Hollywood.