Aragon’s Music Department will be touring Italy from June 8 to June 17. Students will take a week-long tour around various Italian cities, performing their music while also embracing Italy’s culture.
The upcoming music trip consists of a plane ride to Milan and then a trip to Perugia, where the Aragon Music Department is invited to perform with local groups at the region in a joint concert.
Then, they plan to take a day trip to Cremona. They will learn about the history of towns in Italty that build renowned string instruments. The trip concludes with two performances in Rome.
While Aragon Music Director Troy Davis is not responsible for the booking of hotels or plane travels of the trip, he is responsible for preparing his students to practice music to share with the European audience. Troy details the preparation process that both him and students are are undergoing for the tour. He says, “We have extra rehearsals with those people over the next month at flex time and then after school finishes. We’re going to have about four rehearsals on the days between graduation and when we leave for the trip … Plus we have a concert before we leave — a bon voyage concert to show off all the music that we’re preparing before we are going to Italy.”
Sophomore Megan Pangilinan describes the reason why Italy is a great destination for a high school musical experience. She says, “Italy is a very good place to visit because they are a country that practices music with a lot of Latin roots. And that is the main reason we wanted to go there, because one of the pieces that we’ve been working on all year has Latin roots, and we’re going to be collaborating with an Italian youth choir and band. We’re doing a Latin piece to help us bond with the high school students in Italy, and we’ll introduce them to some other various styles of music to connect with them.”
Unlike the annual winter and spring concerts, these students will be traveling to a different country to play music rather than performing at the Aragon theater, which will challenge them to understand the road life of a true musician. Sophomore Victor Guan explains the difference between playing music at the Aragon theater versus traveling to a foreign country such as Italy to play music. He says, “You’re not playing for the same crowd over and over again [and] you’re not playing for your family or friends. [In Italy,] you’re playing for an entirely different [group of] people in different countries, who might not know you necessarily.”
As opposed to playing in a closed space such as a theater, the Aragon Music Department will be playing outside throughout the concert tours, so they will be arranged differently. Freshman Anastasia Yang says, “When we’re outside, we play more loudly because we need to project our sound and it’s not a recording. [Also,] if you’re outside in the open, you need to make sure the sound gets out further, but when you’re in a theater, it’s okay to have a smaller space and more tightly packed.”
Playing music related to the Italian culture brings some nervousness as students aim to connect to the foreign audience. Senior Jeramy Vincent says, “There’s a lot of pressure to make sure that our music is on beat and that we are prepared for the tour just because we are going to be performing in front of groups of people and we’re playing a different cultural song.”
Vincent continues, “[In] Disneyland there’s less pressure because we are playing music that’s into our pop culture like ‘Aladdin.’ But right now we’re playing Italian music which is very different from what we’re used to playing, so it’s a lot to learn from them. [For example,] Italian is more fast paced in a way and the rhythm is a lot more articulated while in American culture it’s more like the classical smooth legato kind of style.”
Many students, such as senior Xavier McNally, are excited to apply the different interpretation of music from European culture to improve their own musical skills. McNally says, “I think it’s going to be really great experiencing how other people do music because I’m sure that in Italy choirs are very different from how they are here in America. So I’m really excited to see the differences and how those can be useful in techniques that they do differently that could help me in my singing.”
By traveling overseas to perform, students seek to broaden their passions and love for music.