Deb Wesoloski has been the Orchestra Director at Berea High School in Berea, Ohio, for 25 years. As an enthusiastic, popular teacher who is passionate about music and loves to introduce her students to new cities and influences, she has always tried to make travel a part of her curriculum. Wesoloski believes education should be hands-on, interactive, and as multifaceted as possible. So, she takes her student musicians on tour every three years. In March of 2011, the group traveled to New York City, where they had the privilege and thrill of performing at the United Nations headquarters.
Student Trip Includes United Nations Performance
“The UN was by far the best venue we’ve ever played on a tour,” said Wesoloski. “This has been our favorite destination ever! We performed a variety of selections, from standard classics by Tchaikovsky to contemporary/popular favorites like Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida’” and Green Day’s “21 Guns”. We learned our music in nine weeks, or about one school quarter. The students had the opportunity to see new sights and to perform for an audience outside our district, which always brings out very positive reactions. Students were excited that many audience members videotaped our performance.” The whole experience gave students a feeling of ambition and adventure, and gave them a taste of what life as a professional orchestral musician in the big city could be like.
Student Tour Sites in NYC
The group visited a range of New York’s world-famous landmarks: the Empire State Building, NBC Headquarters, Chinatown, Times Square, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They also took a trip to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty and attended a performance of the Broadway musical “Phantom of the Opera”. The legendary lights of Broadway, the hustle of the big city, and the experience of being up close to the performers was unforgettable. New York worked its magic on the group. “We chose these places because they were all diverse and had cultural and historical points of interest all the students could enjoy and learn about,” said Wesoloski. “New York has something for everybody, and I wanted the students to be able to soak it all up and get as much as they could out of it, which they did,” she added.
Post Trip Wrap Up at School
Upon their return, Wesoloski’s students had extended discussions about their trip, comparing impressions and reliving and reevaluating their adventure through the lens of their new knowledge and experience. Their photos and accounts of the trip were posted in school publications, making the whole enterprise into a multimedia project that could be shared with everyone. Many of the students seemed changed by the experience, increasingly compelled to pursue their dreams and their potential as musicians—which, of course, was exactly what Wesoloski hoped the trip to New York City would inspire.
Having a Tour Guide Who Works Well With Musicians
“Our experience was excellent,” Wesoloski said. “Our tour guide was superb and knew the city inside and out, and made sure set-up of the performance went perfectly smoothly.” The guide had answers to every question they asked, and her expertise and enthusiasm made the whole trip an exciting whirlwind and a pleasure. No stone was left unturned. “It was everything we’d hoped it would be,” said Wesoloski.
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