Top Music Ensembles Win Awards on Philadelphia Music Trip

Top Music Ensembles Win Awards on Philadelphia Music Trip

Diya Sethi, Writer

The district’s three highest music ensembles won thirteen separate awards at the WorldStrides Heritage Festival, leaving the competition as the most decorated school. The three day trip was full of mishaps, rainy days and great success.

Students left on Friday, April 28, for this eventful trip. Upon arriving in Philadelphia, they went on a walking tour of the city. Much to their discomfort, however, this two hour tour was in the pouring rain. Drenched and ready to dry off, the music students went to the hotel they were meant to stay at to get ready for dinner. However, their plans were derailed when they found out they did not have hotel rooms. They had to relocate to a hotel 45 minutes away, engulfing three hours of their precious time in the city. The first day ended in exhaustion and frustration.

On Saturday morning, all three ensembles departed the hotel skeptical of what the day would throw at them this time. Their question was quickly answered when they found out their performance venue had changed to a different school. Nonetheless, each group performed their programs in front of a panel of judges, similar to how they would for NYSSMA Majors. They were critical of their own performances and did not think they would win any awards, as the venue was small and cramped, changing their sound.

However, they were all proven wrong a few hours later, when these students and directors won a total of thirteen awards. Some of these included Superior Gold Ratings (for each ensemble), Highest Rated Ensembles (for each ensemble), and Soloist Awards for Max Hershkowitz and Ashley Castillo. They spent the next hour dancing and celebrating their success. Chamber orchestra student Zara Rhaman said, “The trip was crazy. It ended up great despite all the misshapes because we won 13 awards and got to dance.”

When arriving home on Sunday morning, the music department was met with cheers and overwhelming support from parents and family members in the High School parking lot. As Lindsey Winters exclaimed, “First place was worth everything that went wrong on this trip!”