The Road Not Taken

The highly anticipated spring music trips for the NA Band, Orchestra, and Chorus have been added to the list of cancelled events this school year.

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photo by Jess Daninhirsch

Until recently, the music departments compete in competitions while on their annual spring trips.

Anna Parsons, Staff Writer

Relaxing on the beach, performing in contests against other schools from around the nation, and even enjoying the rides at Disneyland are all activities that the NA Orchestra, Band, and Chorus students get to experience in their high school careers.

Each spring, North Allegheny’s music groups go on an eagerly awaited trip to not only celebrate the year’s hard work but to also express their talents against other schools. However, a tradition that many look excitedly towards has been added to the list of cancelled events this year. 

A year ago, I think we were all hopeful that we’d be able to travel this spring,” NASH Orchestra teacher Mrs. Lavelle said. “As the year has gone on, it’s become apparent that it’s just not possible yet.”

This being the second year that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the cancellation of the spring trip, many of the young musicians nevertheless held out hope until recently. 

“Back in March 2020, I thought there’d be a possibility of a trip this school year,” junior Chorus student Hannah Oldham said. “It really stings losing two years worth of time where we would be performing and exploring a different place, but it makes me hopeful that with the vaccine rollout, we can do something next year.” 

Junior Orchestra student David Schantz was optimistic heading into the new year.

“Towards the beginning of the year, I actually felt pretty hopeful that we would be going because spring seemed so far away, and I was sure that COVID would be manageable enough to go on a trip,” he said. “As the year progressed, I sort of assumed otherwise.” 

Unfortunately, the expectation of event cancellations is more normal than the aspiration of being able to experience something like a spring trip.

For junior Band student Marissa Granite, this seems to be true. 

“Though I am upset we cannot go on a trip this spring for Band, I understand it is not safe enough or fair to our community to do so,” she said. “I did not think it would be safe for us to have a trip for a while now.”

It’s sad, but it was the right decision given the current state of the world.”

— Nancy Wilkins, Orchestra student

The spring music trips are anticipated due to the opportunity for students to travel to new, exciting places. Having the experience of exploring a fascinating location with friends is highly looked forward to.

Junior Orchestra student Anna Warmbrodt recalled one of the NA Orchestra’s most magical trips and one of the best to experience with friends. 

“The trips that I’ve gone on in previous years just seem to bring everyone together,” she said. “If I had to go anywhere, it would definitely be to Disney so I could experience the Disney magic with all my friends.” 

The opportunity that spring trips give to discover and perform is another aspect of their collective anticipation.

“Personally, I would love to go to New York City with the choir,” Hannah Oldham said. “I would love to have explored the vastness of the city and perform live.”

For some, this year’s trip would have been the last chance to enjoy such an experience with their fellow classmates. 

“I was lucky to go on one choir trip throughout my high school years — to New York,” senior Chorus student Grace Elliot said. “I not only got to visit a city full of culture and experience music, but our entire class as a whole grew closer. Not having a senior trip is extremely saddening for me, but I completely understand it.”

For the senior music students, the hard truth of prioritizing safety is understandable, but disappointing. 

“I was especially looking forward to a senior year trip. It’s sad, but it was the right decision given the current state of the world,” senior Orchestra student Nancy Wilkins said. “I would have wanted to go to Disney, but I was also excited about possibly going to Chicago or Toronto.” 

While it’s not ideal and certainly disheartening, cancelling a spring trip seemed to be the safest and smartest decision to keep North Allegheny students and staff healthy. Making sacrifices to aid the improvement of the current COVID-19 pandemic is priority. 

Keeping this in mind, many of the young musicians at North Allegheny continue to hope for the possibility of a spring trip next school year when hopefully the pandemic over. 

“I am disappointed because I know how important the trips are to our students, and I love sharing that experience with them”, Lavelle said. “I really look forward to traveling again in the future.”