Choir’ Trip to Washington DC

Over this past February break, the Sacred Heart Academy choir took a trip to our nation’s capital. The girls were in Washington DC for 4 days, from Wednesday, February 19, 2020, to Saturday, February 22, 2020. The trip was led by music teacher Ms. M, and other teacher chaperones, who were Mr. Marchello and Dr. Kapteyn. The group got to explore the various museums on the National Mall, see important monuments, and also give a performance at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Throughout this trip the girls, who were from all classes here at SHA, got to experience a trip that they will always hold with them for a variety of reasons. Michelle Chacko, a sophomore says, “The trip was very fun and I got to spend time with my friends and learn new things along the way because of all the museums and memorials.”



The choir set out early Wednesday morning from Sacred Heart Academy, and endured a 6 hour long bus ride to DC, while stopping along a rest stop on the way. It was a bright sunny day, and everyone on the bus was chirping with excitement for the trip to come. Upon arrival in Washington DC, the group had dinner at the famous Hard Rock Cafe. After enjoying a delicious meal and getting to look around the cafe and gift shop, seeing all the famous rockstar memorabilia, the girls made their way to the iconic Ford’s theater. Just right next to the cafe, the group got to see the show, “Silent Sky”, at the theater. The show was about a female astronomer, Henrietta Leavitt, her life story and her amazing discovery of the relationship between period and luminosity in Cepheid variables, which influenced astronomical revelations for years to come. The show was amazing, and displayed the inspiring of story of a woman scientist in a time when women were treated as second-class citizens. Following their dinner and a show, the choir’s long day came to end as they reached the hotel.

Early Thursday morning after a plentiful breakfast, it was time Ms. M and the girls to set out to the National Mall. The National Mall is the long trip in between Capitol Hill and the Washington Monument that contains many intriguing and educational museums. The girls had time to explore the museums in which they were most interested in. The group I was in decided to take a look at the Air and Space Museum and the Museum of Natural History. In the Air and Space Museum we got to see various rocket ship models, walk through a model of a rocket ship, see exhibits on the advancement of air and space travel, and of course visit the gift shop. The Museum of Natural History had a large variety of exhibits including a butterfly pavillion, a look into the evolution of humans, and fossils from the Mesozoic era. After the free-choice museum time, the choir went as a group to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture. This museum was huge and included exhibits on African Americans in the music, film, and art industries and a detailed exhibition on the history of African Americans in the Americas from the 1700s to present day. Following all these museums, the girls had dinner in the food court of the Ronald Reagan building, and then went on an illuminated tour of Washington DC. This tour included seeing the Lincoln Monument, World War II Memorial, Korean War Memorial, and Vietnam War Memorial. The group got to see all these monuments/ memorials at night and got to spend time and hear about each one from an experienced tour guide. This tour finished out the busy day, and the choir returned back to their hotel to prepare for the next day.



Friday was the day of the choir’s performance at the Basilica, but before their performance they once again had time to spend in the National Mall. This day my group decided to make our way over to the Washington Monument, which is all the way at one end of the strip. While there we got to witness the monument up close and see the city from all angles around us. After this “free time”, the girls boarded the bus to Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Upon arrival at the Basilica, the group received a tour of the magnificent place of worship. They got to see the various chapels and incredible art that was displayed all around. Following the tour, the group had lunch in the Basilica’s cafeteria and completed a quick rehearsal; then it was time for their performance. The choir performed a collection of four songs in the Basilica’s Upper Church for those were passing through and praying in the Church. After their great performance, the group departed from the Basilica for some shopping! They visited a souvenir store and then got some time to spend shopping at a local mall. Then in order to prepare for their final day and journey home on Saturday, the girls got some extra time to rest at the hotel on Friday night.



Saturday was the group’s final day in Washington DC, and the day started off like the others: heading to the National Mall. This was their last time to visit any of the other many museums in the Mall that they didn’t get time for the other two days. My group decided to visit the National Museum of the American Indian. There we got to see exhibits on the various tribes of Native Americans in our nation, and history between the American Government and these native peoples. Along with that, we also saw a presentation about the American Indians in the United States. But sadly, once our museum time came to an end, and so did our time in Washington DC. The girls boarded the bus one last time and began to travel back up north to Sacred Heart Academy, waving goodbye to Washington DC. Everyone being extremely exhausted and tuckered out from the strenuous but exciting and enjoyable trip, the bus was almost completely silent, with everyone napping away. However, after the rest stop, where everyone fueled back up, the bus was a little bit more lively than before. And soon enough we were pulling back into Sacred Heart Academy where everyone’s parents/ family were waiting to bring us home.



Overall, the Washington DC trip was an amazing time for everyone who came along. People got closer with their existing friends and made new ones. They got witness sites they never had seen before and learn more about the nation’s history and culture. While there was so much to enjoy about the trip, everyone had a specific favorite thing. I personally enjoyed the illuminated tour: getting to see and learn about the various monuments and memorials. Sophomore Tonimarie Basil says,”The bus ride was awesome, and I absolutely loved the statues!” Sophomore Chiamaka Alino, says, “The best part of the trip was going through the African American museum, the architecture and art displayed were incredible!” All in all, the Washington DC was a time of great fun and great memories.