Spreading Musical Wings

The Guilford High School Symphony Orchestra (shown performing at Woolsey Hall in New Haven) and Wind Ensemble are headed to Europe for a musical exchange opportunity of a lifetime.
The Guilford High School Symphony Orchestra (shown performing at Woolsey Hall in New Haven) and Wind Ensemble are headed to Europe for a musical exchange opportunity of a lifetime. Photo by Judith L. Barbosa

Speaking the universal language of music, 80 students who are part of the Guilford High School Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra are embarking on a trip of a lifetime. Departing on April 9, the group is traveling to Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, and Bamberg to learn more about, explore, and share music. While in Europe soaking up the local culture, the group will be performing three separate concerts for locals, opening up the lines of communication through musical notes.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for our students, and we are very fortunate to have Mr. [Mark] Gahm and Mr. [Tom] Boates provide such an amazing experience for our students," said Guilford High School Principal Rick Misenti.

The students will be very busy on this trip, which will bring them to the birthplace of Mozart, as well as the backdrop for the iconic Sound of Music. In addition, the group will visit Austrian salt mines and Vienna's State Opera House and the Imperial Palace, which houses the famous Spanish Riding School, and the Hofburg Chapel, where the world renowned Vienna Boys Choir sings.

Other highlights will include seeing the Czech crown jewels and a guided tour of KZ Flossenbürg, a former Nazi concentration camp.

"We try to offer a musical travel experience every other year to our students," said Boates, who noted he's never been to Vienna before and is very excited about the cultural experience.

"The areas we are visiting are really the seat of where classical western music came from," added Boates. "This trip will help students connect with the history of music on a different level."

The total cost for each student for the eight-day trip was $3,000, including airfare. Each student participated in fundraising activities to raise money for the trip.

"I am very proud of our students and our school and I think the musical opportunity this trip will provide will be very rewarding. It is a great opportunity to use music in a meaningful way."

Setting the precedent before them, Boates added that each time he has taken a group on a traveling trip, the students have always been very well behaved and he expects nothing less of this group.

"Guilford students have proved to be very mature travelers in the past," he said, adding, "This is truly a trip of a lifetime for all of us, and we are looking forward to it. I am sure it will be great and it will open us all up to music in ways we don't know yet."

The group returns home on Thursday, April 17.

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