by Coleen Dunwoody
"New York left me with images that no photograph can capture." says Annie Coward, referring to the recent trip made by the THS Show Choir to "The Big Apple." On the 8 month anniversary of September 11th, 25 teenage girls and 17 adults embarked on a 4 day adventure that as Rachael Zubek states "was a once in a life time experience."
The excursion began with an all night flight , so as not to waste a moment of time. Upon arrival at the Newark Airport, the group went straight to the "Today Show" where they were "spotted" by T.V. cameras outside the famous window. From there they toured 5th Avenue, St. Patricks Cathedral and Rockefeller Center. Over the course of 4 days they took in all of the sights of the city. Just a few of the highlights included the Empire State Building, a tour of the United Nations, Central Park, Ellis Island, The Museum of Natural History, Macy's, that was featured in "Miracle on 34th St., Times Square, Lincoln Center, a performance by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Intrepid Air and Space Museum, St Johns the Divine and Harlem.
The choir also performed on Liberty Island. In the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, they sang "The Star Spangled Banner," "New York, New York" and also performed "In The Mood" complete with choreography. Although it was raining, a crowd gathered to listen to these amazing girls.
Many of the girls echoed the sentiments of Melissa Zavala when she said "I feel that it was a bonding experience for all 25 of us. I talked and laughed with girls that I never spent much time with in class."
However all of the girls are in agreement that
the "most important and most rewarding" part of this trip was singing at
Ground Zero. They gathered in a group with lumps in their throats
and tears in their eyes, and sang in
the spot where so many had died. Slowly a crowd gathered to experience this amazing event. The song they had chosen to sing was titled "On Holy Ground," which they felt was most appropriate for Ground Zero.
These heartfelt sentiments reflect the mood of the moment:
"Singing at Ground Zero made me proud." - Nancy Castro
"It was so emotional, but exciting at the same time." - Lizzette Nunez
"I never expected to see the people stop in their tracks in busy New York and listen to us sing. When the people around us started crying I felt like I was a part of their healing. I have never felt so much sadness as I did on that day." - Sarah Bland
"To see the tears on the faces of the passers by was honestly touching." - Jennifer Smith
"It was such an emotional experience. Actually being where the events of September 11th happened brought them to life. It just hit us so hard when we actually saw it." - Lorna Dries
"It was heartbreaking to see the destruction that can be caused by man's hate for one another." - Shannon Jackson
"As we stood there and sang, we all knew it was a moment we would never forget." - Melissa Zavala
"It hit me with such force that innocent people were killed here for no reason." - Alicia Lovenguth
"It was truly a blessing to give back with what God has given us all a gift to do: sing." - Annie Coward
"That day, those people and their attitudes toward a small-town choir singing for the lives lost, is something I will never forget." - Melissa Dunwoody
"This is a time when our patriotism is at an all-time high. When we sang it showed on the faces of those in our audience. Never doubt the power that music has over people." - Lisa Papac
"This experience made me appreciate the strength and unity of our great nation. We are truly blessed." - Amy Murphy
"People stopped to watch us sing. They were crying, we were crying." - Anna Vredenburgh
"I am proud to be an American, and I am proud of our efforts to inspire others."
The thoughts and emotions expressed by our girls are reflected throughout this nation, "We will never forget." Through times of despair, we must have hope and retain the attitude that despite these horrific events we will overcome and gain strength. So it is with full hearts that the group returned to Tehachapi to continue on with their lives. The following weekend the choir found themselves in Anaheim at the annual "Music in the Parks" competition. This competition draws talent from all over the United States and Canada.Following the competition an awards ceremony was held in Disneyland, where our choir was presented with not only a first place trophy for their division, and first place trophy for best soloist - Kim Grassman, but a trophy for best choir overall.
The THS Show Choir would like to thank the citizens of Tehachapi for their support, which enabled them to accomplish their goals. It is with your help that the choir was able to compete and bring home 1st place trophies, and it is with your efforts and support that they were able to go to New York and fulfill a dream.