Wayland's International Choir tours New York City for Spring Break

 Students in the International Choir at Wayland Baptist University spent part of their Spring Break in the Big Apple, singing and sightseeing.

The group left early on March 8 and flew to New York City, where they enjoyed dinner in Times Square and then took in the musical "Les Miserables."

On March 9, the 35-member group performed a program at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, which director Dr. Scott Herrington described as "absolutely huge and quite a tourist attraction. It was an excellent historical and architectural point of interest for the students." Because they were performing during the Lent season, Herrington said the choir had to limit which pieces could be sung.

The group spent the remainder of Friday on a guided tour of New York, hitting some of the popular tourist attractions and historical sites. That evening, the group attended a production of "La Boheme" at the Metropolitan Opera, which was a highlight of the trip for many students, Herrington said.

On Saturday morning, the group took a back-stage tour of the Met, taking in such tasks as set-building, costume-making, light-setting and more as workers kept busy.

"Since they never do the same opera back-to-back, the facility is busy 24 hours a day," Herrington said. "The back-stage tour was very interesting. Many of our students can now say they have sung on stage at the Metropolitan Opera."

The remainder of Saturday was a free day, with students splitting off for tours, additional shows and other sightseeing opportunities. Taylor Clearman, a junior theatre major, took in a performance of the play "Rent," which she missed on her last visit to New York. She said the shows were the highlights of the trip for her.

"I'd been to New York City before and just loved it, so it was exciting for me," she said. "It's my dream to be there; I felt like I was at home. New York City was built for me."

On Sunday morning, the choir performed a short program in the Protestant Chapel service at West Point Military Academy and then toured the Academy. Herrington described that performance as "a wonderful historical and musical experience. The chapel was beautiful and a wonderful place to sing."

Senior Jared Hardy echoed that sentiment.

"I think one of the things I really enjoyed was leading the worship at West Point, because there's a lot of heritage there," said Hardy, a music education/church music major.

The students then performed Sunday evening at Community Baptist Church in Shark River, New Jersey, the home church of Wayland student Jenny Ahrhart. Monday morning included a ferry ride to Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Herrington said from a musical standpoint, the trip was rewarding because of some of the beautiful facilities in which the group was able to perform. Since most of those required previous audition by cassette tape, he counted the opportunity to sing quite a privilege.

He also said the trip was beneficial to all who went.

"The trip benefited all students, no matter what their discipline," he said. "From the musical experiences and historical experiences, in a true sense of liberal arts, the trip provided something for everyone."