Orchestra Plays On

Shivam Vashishtha, Online Editor-in-Chief

This spring break a group of about 120 students from the Mounds View orchestra performed in various churches around Italy. Although the trip was planned in a detailed manner and had an eventful itinerary, some unexpected changes took place. As a result, every traveler now has a varied opinion on their experience.

The first incident on the trip took place after their transfer flight to Paris. From the airport, students were supposed to visit Cremona, a renowned center of musical instrument-making in the 16th century. However, due to the French reform pension strikes, two of the three groups had their flight from Paris to Italy canceled, leading them to instead take a bus to Santa Margherita, Italy. “The bus ride was much longer than expected. Originally, we were expected to reach our destination within two hours if we took the flight, but somehow it got extended to 15 hours [because we took the bus],” said senior Theo Moller.

These detours prevented the orchestra from visiting and performing at many locations. “We basically skipped the entire first day, which included Milan and the opportunity to see some [Stradivarius] violins, because of the unexpected bus ride,” said senior Justin Wang. 

However, travel delays weren’t the only thing awaiting the orchestra. Many students also fell ill. “Some people got food poisoning from either the gross ravioli sauce or the moldy coffee machine,” said Wang. Other students reported symptoms of pink eye and the flu.

Despite the setbacks, the group still covered a lot of locations in Italy, including Santa Margherita, Portofino, Porto Venere, Pisa, Florence, Rome and a few other small ports.

The impromptu cancellations and changes to the trip were made by looking into the best outcome for all, according to orchestra teacher Lucas Shogren. Despite that, everyone has their perspective on the school’s decisions. “I think that they could’ve not canceled as many things when people were sick because it was kind of a one-day illness. And there were a few things that were canceled unnecessarily; they could’ve been planned better,” said Moller.

Shogren explains that while he understands why people were upset, he had the interests of the students in mind as he was unsure of how long the students would be sick and whether the sickness would pass down to others. “I would still take the same decision if I were in the same situation today. I think that taking a rest for one day allowed many students to recover faster than they would’ve,” he said.

Apart from the downsides, some students still enjoyed the tour and had lots of new and fun experiences. “Italy is very beautiful and very fun to go with my friends,” said senior Claire O’Quinn. 

Senior Joseph Shin agreed that the best part of the trip was hanging out with his friends. “The best element was being able to perform with my orchestra peers that I have known for nearly the past eight years now,” said Shin.

Overall, the trip was a bittersweet experience for most students. Some students got sick during or after the journey. A few cancellations had to be made along the tour, but the decisions were taken by giving utmost importance to students’ health. According to the opinions of most participants and interviewees, in future orchestra trips, more planning should be done beforehand to ensure that any unexpected events are taken care of in the best possible way.