Students Travel on Spring Break Trips to Help Local Communities, Perform Music and Learn About Geography

Andover students enjoyed their well-earned spring breaks in a myriad of ways, in locations all over the world. These are just a few of the activities students participated in. CANTATA TOUR TO QUEBEC AND MONTREAL, CANADA: Seventy-five students from the Phillips Academy Orchestra and Choir traveled to Quebec, Canada to perform in basilicas, cathedrals and schools on the Cantata Tour over Spring Break. “The great thing about these music trips is, first of all, it’s a great bonding experience at the same time it allows students to get a greater exposure to performing,” said Christopher Walters, Choir Director and Cantata Trip coordinator. Members of the Music department and World Cultural Tours worked together to design the trip. “I particularly wanted to perform in churches because much of our repertoire was more sacred music. I knew about the Basilica in Montreal as being a very popular place to give concerts,” said Walters. Izzy Kratzer ’12, member of the Phillips Academy choir and Fidelio Society said, “We sang, but we also went sightseeing and visiting, it was a pretty great blend of everything.” “It was really great to get to perform so many times, it really helps with the nerves. The more audiences you get to perform in front of the more consistent you become,” continued Kratzer. Kerstin Brolsma ’11, member of the Phillips Academy Choir and Fidelio Society said, “Every term you work really hard [for the Cantata Tour] but then when you see, in our last concert, these people standing up like it’s the best concert they’ve ever heard, it really touches your heart. You’re like, ‘we got some cute old little lady in Montreal to stand up, so we must have done something right.’” In recent years budget issues have strained the extent of trips. “We haven’t strayed from giving people who needed financial aid to go on the tour…despite the economic situation. However if we were to go abroad, in this particular economic climate, it would be much harder,” said Walters. The Music Department alternates intercontinental tours with more local tours, such as this year’s trip to Canada. Walters said, “I’m hoping that next [tour] we can doing something maybe more combined with another school, to include a more educational aspect as well,” said Walters. The Music Department has sponsored the Cantata Spring Break tour for over thirty years, and this year the students showcased several pieces of music. Walters explained that tours allow students to perform multiple times, unlike most concerts on campus that only occur once or twice a term. “I’ve always found on these tours that students always get better as the tour progresses, their last performance was definitely the best. There’s no question that it raises the level of performance,” said Walters. STUDENT PROFILE: RAINER CROSETT PLAYS WITH ORCESTRA Rainer Crosett ’10 spent his Spring Break pursuing musical endeavors after auditioning and winning the Concord Orchestra’s Ehlers Young Artist Competition. Crosett soloed Barber’s Cello Concerto with the Concord Orchestra over Spring Break. “It was interesting performing with the orchestra, the Barber Cello Concerto was a very challenging piece so it was a little difficult when we were trying to pull everything together, but in the end it all worked out well,” Crosett said. “We were taken with Rainer Crosett’s intensity and compelling projection of the music and with his impressive virtuosity,” said Richard Pittman, the Concord Orchestra Music Director, in a press release. “It’s a pretty well known local competition and my cello teacher suggested I try it, and after I audition I was notified, through an email, that I’d won,” said Crosset. The Concord Orchestra has sponsored a competitive Young Artist’s Competition for over fifty years. COMMUNITY SERVICE TRIP TO JOHN’S ISLAND: A group of 46 students and faculty traveled to John’s Island, South Carolina over spring break to partake in the 17th annual community service trip. The students spent their time repairing roofs and building a porch and handicap ramp for the residents of John’s Island. Phillips Academy cooperated with Rural Mission, Inc. where the students lived for the duration of the trip. Rural Mission, Inc. is an organization that aids migrant workers by providing rural housing and repairs. The students worked at three separate sites over the duration of the trip. Two sites involved roof repair through shingling and waterproof and the third focused on the building of a handicap ranch and porch. Calvin Aubrey ’12 attended the program and said that the interaction with the owners was especially meaningful. “It was rewarding to see our hard work and effort acknowledged by the gratefulness of the owners,” said Aubrey. “Their appreciation made the trip worthwhile.” “It was a happy surprise to find a note left by the owners of a house we were working on. The note thanked us for our work on the previously unsafe roof,” said Lucas Christopherson ’12. Three different work groups were formed each day, and each group spent about 8 hours on the construction and repairs at their respective sites. Often the owners of the houses observed the progress. The participants experienced the culture of the community in their location through a visit to a local church and a trip to Charleston. “The really interesting thing was not only building houses, but really learning the reason behind the need to build them,” said Annie Pates ’10. Jackie Lender ’11 said the church service was especially notable. “It was moving to see how the community came together to worship and help each other out.” The students also went to the beach and were responsible for making their own meals. Each night was met with a reflection on the day’s events. “This was my second year on the trip and I can honestly say that I came away with something new both times,” said Lender. “You learn to rely on each other, much like a family, and realize the importance of working as a team.” Christopherson said, “Through the trip, I gained a new perspective of the hardships some people face in life.” Zachary Hobbs, Assistant Director of Community Service led the six day trip. The program concluded Saturday, March 20. B.A.L.A.M. TRIP BRINGS STUDENTS TO MESOAMERICA: Another school-sponsored Spring Break program brought 11 students to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico for immersion in archaeology, Spanish and Mesoamerican culture. The program, titled Bilingual Learning Advantage in Mesoamerica (B.A.L.A.M.), is a two-week learning experience sponsored by the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology and the Phillips Academy Spanish Department. Donald Slater, Museum Educator, and Mark Cutler, Instructor in Spanish, headed the program, which is in its fourth year. B.A.L.A.M. consisted of archaeological explorations of ancient Maya ruins, tours from Slater, and Spanish language and culture lessons from Cutler. The students learned about the ancient Maya civilization, aspects of its culture, like its art, architecture, and cosmology, and modern Mesoamerican culture. Through the archaeological explorations, students learned about archaeology and used real archaeological excavation techniques. “We learned a trimester worth of material about the Maya in just two weeks,” said Brandon Wong ’12, a participant. “The Maya sites were incredible. Sitting at the top of the pyramids above the jungle canopy was an once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Wong continued. “Through a grueling, non-stop, 16 day itinerary which had us trek through 21 ancient Maya ruins and caves, modern cities, and traditional Maya villages, all eleven students continued to show passion and enthusiasm for learning about the ancient and modern cultures of the region,” said Slater. “All the students challenged themselves to go out of their comfort zone, to conquer fears, and really understand all of the multifaceted pedagogical goals of BALAM, including those which go beyond language and archaeology,” Slater continued. The group explored modern cities, Maya villages and ancient ceremonial caves. Throughout the trip the students had constant interaction with the local people and visited various indigenous locations. “We had trips every day. We covered 21 sites in two weeks, and Donny told us that we had seen more Maya sites than most graduate students,” said Wong. “I was blown away by how many activities were planned each day, but the pace was my favorite part. By the end I felt as if I had been in Mexico for months,” said Kristen Faulkner ’11. “I had so much fun getting to know the other kids on the trip. They will remain my friends not just at Andover, but probably beyond,” continued Faulkner. Wong said, “This opportunity is unlike anything else Andover has to offer. Anyone should jump on the chance to go.”