Spring break earlier this month proved to be very interesting for a group of our chorus kids. The group’s plans for the week changed slightly after their flights back to the U.S. were unexpectedly cancelled due to strikes in Paris. I spoke with two of the students who were on this trip about their experience.
- For those who do not know, what were you all doing in Europe?
Morgan: We were in Europe, all of chorus from Apex along with South Garner High School and Middle Creek High School. There was somewhere around sixty students with us. We were going on a full choral tour to say, so we did official performances with an entire set in three different venues. One in Germany, one in Austria, and then one in Italy. We did a lot of tourist activities, and we just sang everywhere we could.
- Where did you travel?
Morgan: We were able go to Germany, Austria, and Italy.
- How did your performances go?
Avery: They were really good, and they were fun. We had one performance in Germany in a church which was an actual venue, and a lot more people showed up than we thought were going to originally which was nice. The one in Austria, which was at a school, allowed us to meet more Austrians, and then we did the one in Italy which, was at a retirement home, and they were all super nice. We sang a few times casually in churches and in the streets of Salzburg.
Morgan: We thought it would be funny to just sing in the street and put out a hat- we actually made five euros!
- So you were expecting to leave Europe on what day?
Morgan: We were supposed to leave on April 10, which was a Tuesday.
- How did you all find out why you couldn’t leave? And why couldn’t you leave?
Avery: Well our tour guide Monique, shout out to Monique, she knew for a while that the strikes were happening, but she did not know that our flights were going get cancelled. Then when we were in Venice that day she ended up telling a bunch of the chaperones that our flights were getting cancelled, and the chaperones told a few of the students. When we were all meeting up in Saint Mark’s Square to leave and go to dinner, Monique told us that our original flight to Munich and the connecting flight to Charlotte were both cancelled.
- What did you all spend your time doing when you were waiting to come home?
Avery: There were people in a group that went to Munich that ended up having to fly back to Italy.
Morgan: We were stuck in Paris in the airport, and there was not really much to do in there, and we just hung out. Because the strikes had cancelled so many flights, the airport was pretty empty, and it was very quiet which was odd. So we just ate McDonalds and sat around.
How different is their McDonalds?
Morgan: It is just better quality. They have croissants, macaroons, and their chip bags are twice as big.
- So the media made a big deal of you all being stuck in Europe, were you all scared for your lives or did you just see this delayed arrival as an obstacle?
Avery: I think what happened was one of our chaperones filmed us singing a song on a bus. We were being driven on a shuttle from the airport to our hotel, but the bus driver was not actually dropping us off at our hotel because it was too far away on his route, so we sang for him, and he ended up dropping us off closer to our hotel which was really nice. One of our chaperones, filmed that and posted it on Facebook, and…
Morgan: …he is friends with someone who works at WRAL, and then they decided that they could make a story out of this. We were all fine though; I think a lot of people were just homesick, we were tired, and ready to return. We knew that we would be taken care of with Woody Travel, and we had all our chaperones, so we were all fine.
Avery: Anything that happened would have happened even if we had gotten on our original flights, being tired and all that.
Morgan: We were all in on Wednesday; it was just that twenty-four hours that were hectic.
- How would you rate your experience? Was it worth the trip?
Avery: It was. It was my first time out of the country, and my mom was telling me “you don’t really get to say you have been out of the country until your flight gets messed up.”
Morgan: We were able to make a lot of new friends from other schools, so we were able to bond a lot and saw a lot of beautiful monuments and scenery. One of my favorite parts was we went into this underground salt mines. It was so cool.