In December 2012, the Worth School choir visited Charlotte, North Carolina. Student Luke Navin revisits the tour.
The Worth School Choir tour at the end of December 2012 was a fabulously exciting time for each of the 23 students and five members of staff. We each had our own reasons for our excitement; for some it was the first time we had been on the trip and for others, who had been on the trip three years before, it was an opportunity to bring back memories and to once again see stateside friends.
We went prepared with a substantial repertoire, compromising a diverse selection of music spanning five centuries from Gregorian plainchant to rich English choral music, with French and German Christmas carols also put in the mix. I played organ for the trip, which meant I not only accompanied the choir, but also performed some solo items and discovered some rather unique American instruments.
Leaving Worth at 7.30am on a crisp December morning before flying from Gatwick at 10.00am, the group congregated for the first time. Excitement built as we prepared for the 9 hour flight to the US. The first port of call was a visit to St. Gabriel’s church, which would become somewhat of a beacon for us over the next week.
The day after arrival, we took a bus tour of the city which revealed the history of Charlotte and its main attractions, including the American football stadium that is home to the city’s Panthers team. This was followed by a couple of hours at an outdoor ice-skating rink (resulting in a few bruises for some students!) before visiting that most American of destinations, a shopping mall.
Throughout the trip, we stayed in groups of two’s and three’s with extraordinarily generous host families, who gave up a week of their time and warmly welcomed us into their homes. Their great kindness not only made the trip possible, but also enjoyable as at night they gave us an insight into the American lifestyle with trips to sporting events, bowling alleys and the cinema.
At the end of the week, it was time to pack and say our farewells and express our gratitude to the host families and the community of St. Gabriel’s came. Upon returning back to England, complete with dismal weather, we were left to reflect on the memories and friends we had made over the past week. Once again I would like to express my thanks to the people of Charlotte.
A montage of the trip can be found on the Official Worth School YouTube channel.