Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Liturgical Choir Trip Diary

Hello everyone!  So sorry I haven't blogged in so long, I have been extremely busy with my classes and other activities!  I can't believe this is already the fourth week of the semester!  However, amidst all the work, I've been able to fit in some fun, including a trip to Smuggler's Notch (which I talked about in my last post) and going to Al's Frenchy Fries for the first time with my wonderful friend and fellow blogger Alex.  Much of my time outside of classes so far this semester has been focused on preparing for the annual Liturgical Choir/Ensemble trip.  Last year the group traveled to Portland, Maine (see my post about it here). This year we went to NYC/NJ and had an absolutely wonderful time! We left on Thursday afternoon and returned to SMC on Sunday night. Here's what we did with our time!
On Thursday afternoon, we loaded the bus and headed for our first stop (dinner in NY, near Emma's hometown!)
Emma (right) and me, ready to get going!
After dinner, we went straight to Bergen High School in Oradell, NJ, which is an all boys Catholic high school.  We set up all our equipment and headed to the hotel.  As many of you know, Emma and I are roommates here at SMC and we were lucky enough to be roommates on the trip as well, so we were very excited!  Here's a picture from our hotel window:
Beautiful city lights!
On Friday morning, we got up bright and early so we could get to the school on time to practice before Mass started.  It was a little chaotic since it was our first Mass of the trip, but everything worked out and we had a great time!  Afterwards, the school provided a delicious lunch for us.  When lunch was over, we headed back to the hotel for some downtime, which Emma and I spent working on some homework and taking mini naps.  Then, it was time for one of the best parts of the trip - heading into New York City!  I have been to the city before, but I absolutely love it and was so excited to be going with some amazing people from SMC!
Since there was a total of around 40 people on the trip, we all split into groups so we could choose what we wanted to do in the city.  Here's a picture of my group before our adventures began:
Ellen, Sarah, Emma, me, Father B, Amelia, and Jordan
I would love to post all the pictures I took here, but there are way too many!  So I'll just stick to the best ones:

New favorite roomie picture :)
Rockefeller Center!
What color M&M are you?
Becca and me - part of our photo montage!
We also got to go to the Lego Store, Saint Patrick's Cathedral (where Father Brian gave us our own personal tour), eat dinner in Rockefeller Center (at a place called Tri-Tip steak...so delicious!), see the Empire State Building, and of course experience all the excitement of Times Square!
On Saturday we got to sleep in a bit, thank goodness!  After breakfast, we went to Liberty State Park.  We had planned on walking the boardwalk, but unfortunately it was closed off do to damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.  But it was still very nice to walk around and I got a great picture of the Statue of Liberty!
We were also able to see New Jersey's 9/11 Memorial.  Once we left the park, we headed to a restaurant called Laico's where I enjoyed some delicious chicken parmesean!  Afterwards, we headed to church to practice, set up, and perform at Mass.  After Mass, I sold CDs from last year's trip with an alumnus who accompanied us on the trip named Marianne.  She was so nice and I was so happy to be able to meet her!  It was wonderful to receive so many complements; I could tell the parishoners truly appreciated us being there.  Once the bus was loaded, we headed to another church to unload and set up.  When we finished, we proceeded to another hotel called Breakers.  As you can see, it was absolutely gorgeous!!
Even though we spent less than twelve hours there, it was wonderful!  On Sunday we got up bright and early to have breakfast and then sing at two Masses before heading back to Vermont.  At each Mass we were able to present a check (one to the parish and one to the connecting high school) to aid in Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.  I was so honored that we could help the community in such a way - it was clear that they were extremely grateful!
Overall, I had an absolutely fantastic time on the trip.  It was tiring, but so much fun.  One of the things I loved most about it was getting to know some of the other members of the choir a bit better (shout out to Sarah, Ellen, Jordan, and of course Becca!).  And of course, the choir director, Jerome, picked out some great music that I genuinely enjoyed singing.  It is always wonderful to share my faith and my love of music with others!  If everything goes as planned, I will be studying in Ireland during the time of the trip next year, but I am already looking forward to going when I'm a senior!
As always, thank you so much for reading my blog and let me know if you have any questions, about Lit Choir or anything else!


  1. One of the BEST aspects of the touring trip of the SMC Ensemble & Singers is that it brings a part of the college to the alumni (and community) who are more distant. Merrill, thanks for giving me the FULL SMC immersion experience by welcoming me into group! I'm hoping you'll be back to Jersey for your 2015 year. :) -Marianne '98

  2. You are so welcome! And I hope so too - that would be wonderful! :)