By Josee Li
While most students were enjoying their Presidents’ Day weekend off by sleeping in on Friday morning, the Council Rock North Marching Band rose bright and early. Why? Well, the marching band prepared a treat for all the teachers in the Council Rock School District. On February 12, Council Rock teachers gathered in the North auditorium to start a day of workshops. Focusing on the concept of teamwork introduced by Superintendent Dr. Robert Fraser, the marching band decided to play the song “Lean on Me” as they marched into the auditorium. Needless to say, as the marching band blared out the famous tune, teachers became encouraged to unite with the empowerment of music. After a booming applause with standing ovations, it was evident that teachers understood that their efforts everyday do not go wasted.
Not only did the teachers become inspired to work together, but they also realized that their hard work and dedication to their students everyday create something as stunning as the marching band’s performance. The marching band was able to show its own united teamwork as well, a key trait needed for superior shows. The simple but bold message that “we all need someone to lean on” resonated in every note, and every clap enforced the united concept that we are the Council Rock School District and together, the best education provided by our superior teachers can empower bright students to do astounding things.
By Julia Gokalp
Many people dream of visiting the United Kingdom at some point in their lives, usually for the sights and landmarks within it. However, for the 99 students and many chaperones attending the choir trip this year, that dream became a reality. The trip, which began on February 6 and ended on the 15th, included three major stops with special events planned for each: Edinburgh in Scotland and York and London in England. Many students looked to the coming journey with excitement, with some of them looking forward to seeing the landmarks such as Big Ben, the London Eye, and Abbey Road, while others looked forward to the experience of traveling the world. Students had more independence on this trip after all, since students received ample free time while traveling in groups no smaller than three people. Much of this free time was spent buying souvenirs- cashmere or wool scarves, candy, hats, or even a kilt or bagpipes from Scotland.
Upon arriving in Scotland, the choir was greeted by rapidly blowing winds, light rain, and cold temperatures. Some students did not mind the inclement weather much. Others did, but found the adventure worthwhile despite it. First impressions of Scotland were not simply about the weather, however.
Karen Kraft, a freshman, recalls one of her first thoughts about Scotland: “I’ve never seen so much green before.” Scotland seemed to be filled with green, rolling hills and windmills, but those were not to be the venues at which the choir sang (with one exception which will be mentioned later).
The students on the trip performed a large selection of songs with origins from either America (such as “Somewhere” from West Side Story), England (such as “Tell My Ma”), or Scotland (like “Loch Lomond”). Of all of the songs that the touring choir- as it came to be called- performed, “Loch Lomond” seemed to be an indisputable favorite. Not only was “Loch Lomond” a song that the choir performed, but it was also a place which it visited while in Scotland.
As the two tour buses coasted through the startlingly green hills dappled with russet grass and sheep, it became evident that Loch Lomond was not far away, for the song mentions “Highland Hills.” Upon reaching Loch Lomond, the students noted that the place seemed to match the song even more. The sun, which, after the rainy, cold weather, had finally reached through the clouds, illuminated the peaceful water, just as the song had said- “in sunshine the waters lie sleeping”.
The sight of the body of water surrounded by mountains left many people in awe. Liam Safran, a freshman, described Loch Lomond as being “really pretty[,] ... really colorful[,] ... [and] a great place to visit[...].”
Sophomore Brooke Hauserman remembered it as “gorgeous,” and freshman Mallory Durkin recalled that “[i]t was very… peaceful.” Not only did the choir get to see Loch Lomond on a boat tour, but they also got to sing “Loch Lomond” there, an experience which many hold among their most precious memories from the tour.
Another one of the more precious memories was the visit to the York Minster, a cathedral that the touring choir visited while on a guided tour of York. Although lacking permission, the choir sang two songs- “Ave Maria” (the whole choir) and “Ubi Caritas” (NorthVoice). The reverberation created by the cavernous interior created a beautiful sound. Although the choir was not supposed to sing there (nor had it been expected), nobody who was asked about it expressed any regrets about singing there. As senior Matthew Stockburger explains the situation, singing in the York Minster “was more about taking the opportunity than facing the consequences.” Singing in such a beautiful and famous place was an opportunity that would likely never arrive again.
One of the venues at which the choir sang involved a combined performance with one of the local high schools (they sang separately except for the performance of “Viva la Musica” at the end of the concert), which gave some students the opportunity to make new friends. Students became friends with both people from England and Scotland and other choir students throughout the course of the trip. Traveling for numerous hours, spending time together at restaurants and guided tours, and singing together gave members of the choir opportunities to meet many people to whom they had never spoken before. The experience taught some students such as Karen to be more open to talk to people, for everyone in the choir was willing to talk.
One of the many chances that students had to converse was in the guided bus and walking tour of London. There, tour guides discussed some of England’s history, and students were eager to take many pictures, especially of Big Ben, a well-known clock tower.
Near the end of the trip, the choir performed at a somewhat smaller church than the others at which they had performed, but the concert was enjoyable nonetheless. Additionally, they got to see a local choir perform the soundtrack from Les Miserables. Since it was the last performance of the trip, it became quite emotional, for not all choir members were ready for the experience to be over.
This final performance was followed by one final dinner together where Mr. Williams, who directs the choir, commented about the trip as the choir intently listened. He mentioned how the work of the choir students had paid off after “[a]ll the hard work, the extra rehearsals, [and] the ‘I can’t believe I have choir again’” moments, for through the music, the choir had “touched and inspired [the] hearts [of those in the audience].” He also brought up a point that was mentioned earlier here, how people had been brought together during the trip. "Music really is that language that holds us together," he told the choir. After all the friendships that were made, and all of the new people that members of the choir met on this trip because music had brought them there, the statement could not have been more true.
By Emily Schmidt
With Disney less than two months away, I thought it would be very appropriate to compile a short list of things I’ve learned on my many trips to the various Disney-themed parks.
For more tips, visit Mrs. Houston-Lingman’s teacher page and follow the directions provided.