Whoever said “west coast is the best coast” truly hasn’t been to the concrete jungle, New York City. Its bustling residents, bright lights and impressive skyscrapers put Hollywood to shame. With many of the Bellezza ensemble girls never seeing New York, including myself, it was a brand new experience that we were ecstatic about, especially our opportunity to sing in the world-famous Carnegie Hall with the National Youth Choir.
I’ve been around the world and to many countries, yet nothing compares to your own country’s history, especially the 9/11 Memorial. It was evident the wound was still deep for the adults who remember watching that day unfold from their TV screens.
Even though I personally do not remember 9/11, it was shocking to be where the World Trade Center once stood, and I will forever see the day in a new perspective. At most of our tourist destinations, we’d snap selfies or strike our favorite poses, but this was not the case at this memorial. It was no longer about our experience but about the experience of those in the memorial.
While Americans debate the country’s immigration methods today, it was crucial to see Ellis Island and witness how America’s first immigrants prepared for their new lives and journeys. Millions of names were posted on walls outside of the Ellis Island Museum, including family members of many ensemble girls. I think these immigrants would be astounded to see where their descendants are today.
Any musical aficionado will claim Broadway puts on the best musicals in the country. And it is a completely accurate claim, to say the least. All the musicals performed in Fresno, San Francisco or LA fall short to the awe of a Broadway play. It was shown especially in Phantom of the Opera, Broadway’s longest running show. Hearing the operatic voices belt songs that could break glass sends chills down anyone’s bones.
Even little old Ellen’s Stardust Diner has hints of Broadway in it. All of the waitresses and waiters perform theatrical numbers about every 10 minutes. It’s hard to not clap along and laugh as they belt out the classics and jump onto chairs. Even one of our own ensemble girls was wooed by a waiter singing a love ballad.
The primary thing that caught my attention in Times Square, however, was a spontaneous concert thrown for the U.S. Olympic Team by The Band Perry. Soon enough, we were ushered to the third row, watching a Grammy-award winning music group performing a whole set, and were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of U.S. soccer and basketball players. — Macy Mascarenas
Walking through Times Square was an unexpected thrill. In all, it’s a physical representation of capitalism. It’s honestly hard to focus on one electronic billboard, because a better one will replace it in seconds and catch your attention.
The primary thing that caught my attention in Times Square, however, was a spontaneous concert thrown for the U.S. Olympic Team by The Band Perry. Soon enough, we were ushered to the third row, watching a Grammy-award winning music group performing a whole set, and were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of U.S. soccer and basketball players.
As some may know, a few of us were lucky enough to get interviewed by Judge Jeanine for Fox News. When in New York, right? One of the lucky few was my dad. Jeanine asked him if America is ready for a woman president. Of course, being a political junkie, my dad had his words about it, and his response was aired on her show, along with senior Alexis Kalugin’s.
And finally, Carnegie Hall. The whole purpose of the trip to New York. Though Perelman Stage, where we performed with the rest of the National Youth Choir was not a full house, the pieces we sung were filled with energy and excitement, thanks to the conductor, Greg Gilpin.
Every rehearsal leading up to the night at Carnegie, Gilpin emphasized consonants to help clarify the words we sang. For instance, if a verse went something like, “Come sing with me!” It was highly recommended we emphasized the “c” to reach the back of the hall.
Above all else though, Gilpin wanted us to show life and spirit when we sung. To him, a choir could hit all the right notes, but if they showed no emotion in their body language, the choir had no potential. And I think that’s how I’d like to imagine our trip went. I mean sure, we had an itinerary to follow along with.
But in all fairness, I think our best moments were the ones unplanned. How were we to know if we’d be watching a country music concert, bumping shoulders with Fox News, or even trying neat food places out of curiosity? We didn’t, and I’ll remember some of those moments the best. Instead of making sure we did everything to the order of the itinerary, we took a leap of faith on New York, and we sure did enjoy it.
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