The Burgundy Tour

Traversing Europe Speaking the Language of Music

By Andrew S. ’17

This summer, a group of eight LCDS choir and orchestra students participated in the American Music Abroad European Tour to France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. 

It all began at Franklin and Marshall College on Saturday, June 20. We moved into the dorms with our instruments, preparing for a long weekend of practicing and rehearsing that our orchestra director, Mrs. Woodbridge, had warned us about. We met our fellow musicians and all the directors who would chaperone our tour around Europe. Little did we know that these would be the people that we would forge close relationships with and make our experience in Europe that much more indelible.

We landed in Paris and drove to Caen. For many of us, it was our first visit to France and it seemed as if some magical power passed through us, restoring energy and excitement after the long flight and drive.

Country Day students at the final concert of the trip, in Westendorf, Austria.
Dancing it up at a Tyrolean folk festival.
Warm feelings atop the Hinterlux Glacier.
Celebrating American independence with some Fourth of July bowling in Rosenheim, Germany.
The whole gang in Munich.
With Lisa Shah (fourth from left: LCDS German exchange student) and her family at a concert in Germany.
Following our moving concert at the American WWII cemetery at Normandy we visited Omaha Beach.
Chilling at 10,000 feet atop the Hinterlux Glacier in Austria.
Following our moving concert at the American WWII cemetery at Normandy, we visited Omaha Beach.

The first day of our trip, and perhaps the most poignant part of the trip, was playing in the Normandy American Cemetery at the Omaha Beach Memorial, commemorating the thousands who died storming the beach. The chorus, orchestra and band performed beautiful odes dedicated to the fallen soldiers, bringing tears not only to the large number of spectators gathered, but also to the conductors and students on our tour. The finale evoked the most heartfelt emotions, as our two best trumpet players performed “Taps.” The sound echoed throughout the memorial and cemetery for all the visitors to hear.

After gathering and storing our instruments back on the bus, we took a short bus ride to Point du Hoc, a promontory overlooking the English Channel and the entire beach. It was a beautiful evening, and the English Channel was awe inspiring. What we all had in common that day was believing that this moment would be one we would never forget.

Many of us were ecstatic to have the opportunity of practicing our French language skills in the country of origin. Several French students promised to speak French for the entire time we travelled in France. It was a great learning experience for everyone.

After spending the hottest day of the year in Paris, meandering around the Place de la Concorde or the nearest crêperie along the Seine, we headed north. We spent a night in Strasbourg where an evening of disco let all the kids hang out and dance after spending such long periods on the coaches. It was a nice way to relax and get to meet everyone on the trip.

Taking in the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp was a fascinating, solemn experience for students and chaperones alike. What was so moving and unique about the camp is that it looks very much like it did during the war; it hasn’t been preserved for tourists like other camps, which can feel more like museums than the actual places where the most horrible things happened.

This quality brought us back in time to when the camp was operational: We were standing on the blood, sweat, and tears of condemned Jews, Gypsies and POWs. Especially evocative was a large concrete sculpture of a emaciated prisoner who looked like a living skeleton. It overlooked the entire site, and brought tears to everyone’s eyes. We knew that not too long ago these paths were walked by prisoners subject to brutal torment. It makes one realize how easily people can be forgotten, and how, if we as a society allow it, the innocent can end up behind barbed wire.

We spent our last day in France in Wasselonne, where we performed in the town church for all the townspeople. We all had a great time performing and seeing the audience enjoy our concert.

The next destination and performance venue was across the border in Hirschberg, Germany. This performance was a friendship concert with a local school. Many of us had to share stands and music with the students, whose English fluency ranged all over the map. The conductor’s English was easier to pin down: He spoke none.

Despite the fact that we couldn’t understand the conductor’s criticism and comments after our rehearsals, we all figured out what he wanted of us as musicians. The language barrier dissipated when we all began using the language of music. It was a magical experience to be a part of during the rehearsal and performance.

Travelling south through Germany, we wended our way through Bavarian towns and cities such as Munich, Kirchseeon and Rosenheim. We all had free time in Munich to have lunch and shop before driving to Kirchseeon for an outdoor friendship concert with a local choral group. We ended our Germany journey in Rosenheim, with Mrs. Woodbridge and all the LCDS students celebrating the Fourth of July (not a big event for the Germans) with a bowling tournament.

After falling in love with France and Germany, we couldn’t help but think about what wonders awaited us Austria. We arrived in Westendorf in the evening, just in time for a traditional Tyrolean fork performance. This was truly the best introduction to the state of Tyrol.

A group of six men in full lederhosen regalia started playing music and dancing, which consisted of clapping their hands all around their lower body and doing a series of high kicks. Their many performances included miming wood-chopping, playing unique Tyrolean instruments, and doing many line dances all in sync to music. Between each performance, we all linked arms and danced. It was the easily the liveliest night of the trip, with decidedly memorable interactions with the Tyrolean performers and each other.

Out of all the places we visited in Europe, Westendorf and Rattenberg had the most beautiful scenery. It took everyone’s breaths away seeing the endless mountains, fascinating wildlife, and luscious, green fields. One day, we all travelled to a glacier in Rattenberg. It was the best feeling at the top of the glacier because it was cool, with snow everywhere and the Italian border visible below us. Truly a great day.

When reflecting on the Burgundy Tour, LCDS students all knew that there was one aspect of the trip that stood out the most. It was the power of music. Music is what brought all of us students and conductors together. Through our intense love of music, we all rehearsed and prepared for a plethora of concerts. At these concerts, we communicated stories, messages and emotions to our audience through the language of music. We represented our country, and showed our love of our host country by showing passion for our craft. That is what inspires us as musicians and make music so wonderful.

Special thanks to Mrs. Woodbridge, our choral and orchestra conductor, for encouraging all of us to go on this unforgettable tour.

Singing Swashbucklers Steal the Show

“What’s so great about doing a show like this is you get to see the kids in a different light because they’re discovering new passions and interests and putting them on display for the first time,” said Heather Woodbridge, director of the sprightly “Pirates! — The Musical” and its 81-member cast of the fourth and fifth grade.

Parents packed the theater to behold a legion of costumed corsairs and festooned freebooters singing and dancing about high seas adventure and one young buccaneer’s struggle to become part of the cool pirate clique. Roles ranged from chorus members to actors with lines, blocking and vocal solos.

“Pirates! — The Musical” was a natural choice to perform, Woodbridge said. “No. 1, it really appeals to the boys, who tend to be a little more skeptical about singing and dancing. No. 2, everybody loves pirates. It’s just fun.”

 

 

‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ Review

By Gabrielle M. ’15
Photos by Chandler S. ’16

The recent school production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” certainly had its fair share of publicity — but for good reason. Theater students made daily announcements in morning meeting, murmured about all-day practices on Saturdays, and appeared to be short on both sleep and spare time. However, their efforts were duly rewarded.

“Joseph” was by far the most complicated and advanced production I have seen at LCDS. The musical numbers featured layers of harmonies and synchronized dancing from the entire cast. Both the choreography and the costumes were thoughtful, charming and unique, so the audience had a wealth of sights to admire. The staging consisted of minimalist wooden platforms to organize the cast and direct the audience’s eye. The students jumped from one seemingly precarious platform to another with ease, and the scenes with the entire cast dancing on different levels were stunning.

Even more impressive was the musical aspect of the show: Three narrators, Emily C. 15 and juniors Emma S and Sara K., explained the plot entirely in song, and in exquisite voices. Joseph (Elliot R. ’16) sang wonderfully as well, as did the entire supporting cast, belting out harmony and solos alike with seeming effortlessness. Many of the numbers were arranged with a thematic twist, such as rockabilly, Western or Parisian, to keep the music lively and varied. To complement the vocals, the cast was accompanied by a band composed of both students and teachers. All in all, “Joseph” was one of the most musically rich productions that has graced our stage.

Every detail seemed carefully planned in this elaborate but pleasantly short musical. I walked away from the show quite impressed, and also uplifted by the cheerful music, bright costumes and enthusiastic performers. With this production, LCDS theater has set a high bar indeed for the next show.

 

Lower School Goes ‘Nuts!’

More than 130 jubilant voices filled the theater March 6, when the students of kindergarten-third grade took the stage to perform the Lower School musical, “Nuts!”

The cast of characters reads like a cross between an Aesop fable and a modern art exhibit, with players such as Skunk and Fox listed beside Acorn No. 7 and Walnut No. 1. But for director and Lower School music teacher Kathy Horein, “Nuts!” was a natural choice for the semi-annual production because, “It gave every class a chance to shine.”

Each class sang its own song in addition to two ensemble numbers that bookended the show. The kids dedicated six weeks to rehearsing their singing parts, but had to learn the blocking in just four days because of thorny theater scheduling. (They also painted all the scenery in Lori Hunter’s art class.) Despite the slightly frenetic run-up to the main event, Horein couldn’t have been happier with the result.

“The kids with speaking parts really got into their roles and had fun hamming it up,” she said, “but everyone did a great job memorizing their lines and projecting a good stage presence.” Horein reserved special praise for the adorability and realism of the students’ costumes, the credit for which belongs entirely to the parents of the costume committee, Horein said.

“We couldn’t have done it without them.”

A Fresh Year, Properly Oriented

“When we began the Chinese program at LCDS, both from a teaching and student-exchange standpoint, we were all excited about having the opportunity to share not just language, but culture too. While in many ways, we’ve already succeeded in this, last night really provided a level of cultural sharing of which we can all be proud,” said Head of Upper School Eric Bondy.

Last week’s Chinese New Year celebration was the second year Country Day has rung in the new with an event aimed at bringing all things authentic from half a world away. The evening included everything from a meal of traditional Chinese dishes to performances of traditional Chinese dances by a Chinese troupe.

Mr. Bondy added, “Emily C. sang a Chinese song with such perfect intonation that  our Chinese students thought it was a Chinese student signing at first.”


Madi S. ’15 co-chaired the evening along with senior Lanlan Yu.

“We were incredibly lucky to have the Sunshine Dance group perform to two traditional Chinese songs,” Madi said. “We added a few ‘cultural difference’ scenes to try to put our American audience in the shoes of the Chinese international students when they step off the plane and into American culture.”

Madi said that having a year’s experience under their belts helped every aspect of the production go much smoother this time around. “Aside from the performance, I think that every member of our planning committee was able to learn and grow throughout the process of putting on our celebration,” she said. “A project of this magnitude is no small task, but everyone worked together and as a result, we all became better.”

THE PROGRAM

Gongxi Gongxi
By Ao Z. ’14, Thomas C. ’16, Jonathan Z. ’17, Daniel D. ’14
Originally composed to celebrate the end of the War of China against Japan during WWII, this song was later widely sung during the Chinese New Year and a well-known and a must-sing song for the New Year.

Fishermen’s Night Song
By Steven F. ’16
A famous traditional Chinese song that depicts fishermen’s sentiments and enjoyments during a peaceful evening.

Cultural Differences (Part 1)
By Olivia X. ’15, Andrea E. ’16, Boris H.’15, Elizabeth W. ’15
When a student first comes from China to attend school in the US, cultural shock abounds. Can you think of some?

New Year’s Eve
By Payton B. ’15 & Chinese I Class
A poem written by Wen Zhiming during the Ming Dynasty about how a studious scholar spent his New Year’s Eve.

Story of a Small City
By Emily C. ’15
A song made famous by the late Teressa Teng, or Deng Lijun, in the 1970s. It tells the story of the friendly city of Lugang in Taiwan.

Wedding Veil & The Sun Came up Happy
By Griffin R. ’16
Two upbeat and happy Chinese classics. “Wedding Veil” is based on a folk song of the Uzbek ethnic group of Xinjiang. It renders the anticipation and the excitement of the groom to see his bride. “The Sun Came Up Happy” is a folk song of the eastern Sichuan province. It expresses the local people’s love for work and life in the mountains.

Chinese Classic Dance “Flute Music Echoing over the Mountains”
By Sunshine Dance Club
The flute music is echoing over the mountains, orchestrating with the birds’ singing. The flowers are blossoming everywhere to welcome the Spring Festival.

Wild Dance of the Golden Snake
By Caroline D. ’16
Rearranged in 1934 from traditional Chinese music, this Pipa piece is among the most popular music in China. Fast-tempoed and uplifting, this music expresses the excitement and happiness of the holidays. It was used as the background music for 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.

Father’s Meadow, Mother’s River
By Ao
Written by Taiwan poet Xi Murong, this song brings you the beauty of the meadows of Inner Mongolia.

What is “upset”?
By Doug W. ’15, Sulama T. ’15, Griffin
The son learned four words at school – upset, angry, mad, and not to know whether to laugh or cry. Bewildered by the true meaning of these words, the son asked his dad to explain them.  How did the dad explain?

Jasimine Flower”
By Elissa Quinn, Caroline
This beloved Chinese folk song traces its roots back to the 18th century and has many different variations. It is most popular in Yangzhou, Nanjing and surrounding areas and is well-known both inside China and overseas. This music was used as one of the background songs for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Xinjiang Dance: Love is as Bright as Red Flowers
By Sunshine Dance Club
This dance depicts the theme from an old Chinese folk song of the Tajik Minority living in the Xinjiang Providence. The song describes a young couple’s love as bright as the red flowers on their plateau. Xinjiang is praised highly as the “Home of Singing and Dancing” for its unique folk culture and custom.

New Year’s Day
by Payton/Chinese I Class
A poem written by Wang Anshi during the Song Dynasty depicting customs, excitement and happiness of the New Year’s Day.

Spring Arrives at Xiang River
By Daniel
Composed in 1976, this flute music exhibits the characteristic of the Flower Drum Song art form of the Hunan province. It depicts the beautiful scenery along the Xiang River and expresses local people’s love for their home.

Cultural Differences (Part II)
By Olivia, Andrea, Boris, Elizabeth
When a US student goes to visit China, what cultural shocks are awaiting her?  Can you imagine?

True Heroes
By Ao, Thomas, Jonathan, Daniel
Composed in 1993 and sung by Jackie Chan, Li Zongsheng, Zhou Huajian, and Huang Yaoming, this song became an instant hit among the Chinese communities across the world. A song about friendship, dreams and hopes, it remains popular today.

CREW

Lights Madison S. ’15
Sounds David M. ’16
PowerPoint Creation Olivia X. ’15
Photography Chandler S. ’17
Video Taping Griffin R. ’16
Program Producer Nicole Patterson
Stage Manager Sophia M. ’15
Backstage Ninjas Tyler P. ’15, Sulama T. ’15, Thomas C. ’16
MCs Doug W. ’15, Boris H. ’15, Alex d’E. ’16, Bruce L. ’14