Chorus Students Take The Trip of a Lifetime


All choral students and director Doctor Younge visit an olive orchard in Tuscany (Patty Mcdonald).

Mary Kelly Prosky Gilbert, Contributing Writer

Over April break, twenty-four Hingham High School choral students spent their vacation in Italy, a country filled with history and culture, where they explored the roots of classical music. Everywhere from the canals of Venice to the rolling hills of Tuscany,  experiences were shared between each singer involved. World Culture Tours supplied the group with not only a spectacular trip, but a local Italian guide named Luigi who never failed to bring energy to every situation.

“The trip to Italy was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and was so eye-opening. The culture that we were exposed to was so special and unique, and we all will get to carry those experiences with us wherever we go,” said sophomore Erin Russavage, one of the students impacted by the trip.

The trip started in Venice where the chorus embarked on a walking tour through the island of Maurizio to see historical sights such as Saint Mark’s Square and Basilica, the Bridge of Sighs, and The Doge’s Palace. Each site provided a better understanding of the history of Venice and its unique culture.

Additionally, the students felt a deeper connection with the Italian composer Monteverdi when they saw his church and grave, which created a bridge between the performing of his songs and the birthplace of is music.

Another highlight of the trip was Tuscany, where the group visited beautiful towns such as Chianti and Montecatini. There, the singers were able to experience the breathtaking countryside and taste authentic Italian olive oil from one of the many acres of olive trees.

After exploring the streets of Montecatini, the chorus boarded a bus to Florence for a day trip filled with the revolutionary art of the Renaissance, including Michelangelo’s David.  The students were lucky to have experienced local guides who took them through the Uffizi Gallery where they were able to see incredible work from many well-known artists.

The last stop of the tour of Italy was the Rome, where the chorus participated in a choral exchange with an Italian high school called Pontificio Istituto di Musica Sacra. The students at this school ranged in age anywhere from fourteen- to twenty-years-old; what made them alike was that they all shared the same passion for making music.

Freshman Evelyn Steiner explained, “Being able to interact with kids my age from a different culture was eye-opening and truly incredible.” Many of the American teens quickly bonded with the Italian students and were soon laughing, hugging, and never wanting to part.

Visiting the Roman Coliseum and the Vatican was freshman Connor Kelliher’s favorite part of Rome. “It was kind of like a movie coming to life,” he described. “Things like the Coliseum and the Vatican–you hear stories about them, but it’s nothing like when you see really them.”

Sadly, the trip through Italy had to draw to a close, but not without one last celebratory group dinner where every traveler joined in with the singing, dancing, and eating of delicious Italian cuisine.

Senior Sophie Paven summarized it best when she shared, “Despite the breathtaking scenery, humbling art, and historical monuments that we experienced in Italy, my favorite part of the trip was the people. My heart broke when we were forced to part ways with the Italian teens who we had met just a few hours before. Additionally, I thought that, as a senior, I wouldn’t be able to connect with so many underclassmen on the trip; instead, I made 20 new friends. And I will never forget our dance party and karaoke during our Farewell Dinner when I looked around and thought, ‘This is what true happiness feels like.’”

Every student became closer to the group as a result of this memorable trip. Through the never-ending gelato and bus ride sing-alongs, the students came back to our little suburb of Hingham, Massachusetts, as a forever-enriched family. Choi!