BandJourno: Music classes travel to Italy

Bridget Giles, Features Editor

From NYC to Cleveland, from Toronto to D.C., the Hollis-Brookline High School Band and Choir groups have traveled great distances to spread their love of music. But for the first time this year, the group will travel overseas–to Italy.

“The Italy trip has been two years in the making,” said David Umstead, Music Department Chair and teacher at HB. “The Band director at Milford High School, Brad Smith, was planning to go to Italy and asked if we wanted to go together.”

While in Italy, the HB band and choir will collaborate with the Milford band and choir to perform at three venues. The group will play at an American school in Florence as well as at a concert hall and an outdoor venue in Rome.

“We made a point to include some American music tied in with Italian pieces,” said Umstead.

Among other pieces, the band will perform “Stars and Stripes Forever” as well as “The Thunderer” both of which are marches by John Philip Sousa.

The combined choir has prepared six songs, including “My Funny Valentine” and the Hawaiian version of “Over the Rainbow.”

Alicia Dale will be taking over as Choir Director for Julie Carbone while Carbone is on pregnancy leave. “I’m very excited for this opportunity,” said Dale. “I can’t wait to experience the music, food, history and culture.”

The trip will last nine days, and while the group isn’t performing, it will be taking in all Italy has to offer. Over the course of the trip, the group will travel to Venice, Rome, Florence, Assisi, and Verona. Sights include the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Colosseum, and the Vatican.

“Most of our trips revolve heavily around music, but this trip is different,” said Umstead “We are performing three times, but we don’t have specific musical events to attend. The trip will focus on collaborating with another school, exploring a new culture, bonding as a band, and allowing the students to gain a new perspective.”