By Nicole Palazzo
For its annual April tour, the JCHS music department packed up its sheet music, instruments, and performers and crossed the border into Canada for the first time in years. The musicians stayed at an Embassy Suites hotel right in the middle of the beautiful city of Montreal from Thursday, April 4 to Sunday, April 7. Junior band member Kendall Serena sums up this tradition by saying that, “tour is something that the music department anticipates the most during the school year” and – as usual – this year’s trip “proved that the anticipation is worth it.”
After departing from the high school early in the morning and taking the 7-hour ride up, the group arrived at the hotel just in time for food and fun. They left for dinner at the Restaurant du Vieux Port followed by an intense laser tag competition at Laser Quest.
The following day was full of things to do. Everyone woke up early and boarded the buses to drive deep into the city to hit up some of its greatest attractions: The Biodome, an indoor re-creation of various North and South American ecosystems; and Parc Olympique (the space where the 1976 Olympic Games took place) which features a tall viewing tower. Andrew Canavan, a junior in the band, remarked that, “the Biodome was very different from what we have in New Jersey.”
They then drove back to the Notre Dame Basilica where the chorus and Madrigal singers performed. Junior chorus member, John Franek, commented, “the basilica was beautiful and the acoustics really amplified the sound; you were able to hear everything in detail”. Next for the students was a 4-course meal at Weinstein & Gavino’s and a spooky tour hosted by ghosts of Old Montreal. Afterwards they headed back to the hotel to prepare for another eventful day.
On Saturday the music department attended clinics at the Place de Arts. The chorus, orchestra, band and jazz band all enjoyed these clinics because they were informative and very beneficial. They then headed into the Complexe Desjardins, part of the Underground City, to shop and perform. The orchestra and both bands performed on a stage in the center of the mall in front of a stunning fountain. During the downtime they had, students shopped around and ate some good food from the different stands.
Alice Kong, a freshman in all three of these performing groups, really enjoyed the venue and wished she would have been able to do some more shopping. After a brief stop at the hotel to get all dressed up, everyone headed across the street to a very colorful building where Le Festin du Gouverneur was located. Everyone ate while enjoying the provided interactive entertainment that got various students to sing along; it even dragged up a quartet with choral director Elsie Timpson.
The final day was spent on the bus headed home. While it was a relief to return to cell service and warm weather, everyone was sad that it was over. Freshmen, like David Baumgardt and Aditya Deo, had a really fun first tour experience, while Senior Danielle Wiedmann said that “it was sad but it was a lot of fun and definitely worth going to.” Another senior, Corinne Cannavale, summed up her past four years of tour experience by saying that “tour is a really great way to celebrate music and have fun with a great group of kids.” Everyone could agree that traveling to a foreign city with a lot of fun people is a music department experience you can’t find anywh