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Chamber Singers travel to ACDA National Conference

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KANSAS CITY- The NPHS Chamber Singers traveled to Kansas City, Missouri for the American Choral Directors Association National Conference the first weekend in March. The following dictates the activities from the perspective of the Chamber Singers while on this once in a lifetime trip.


Thursday started like any normal day at North Penn, with one exception. Instead of backpacks, we entered the halls with suitcases. After dropping them off in the dressing rooms to get checked by security, the members of the choir struggled to stay focused for the first four periods of the day. When fifth period rolled around we flooded the chorus room, bubbling with excitement. We were all just waiting in nervous anticipation, looking forward to a day of travel spent among close friends.

All at once, it was time. Luggage was loaded onto buses, people were loaded onto buses, and we faced a three hour journey with overflowing joy. The trip to Baltimore was only the beginning, though; once we arrived at the airport, we had time to get some food and wait for our departure time. As we began to board the plane, the open seating made a few choir members nervous. More than a few of us were stuck in that precarious middle seat, between busy businessmen or sleeping strangers. Yet, we persisted and reached Kansas City after about a two and a half hour flight.

Rightfully exhausted, we got our room keys and collapsed into bed. Our day of travel was over, and days of fun were yet to come.


Friday morning, the Chamber Singers quickly learned a few important facts. First, the free breakfast was free for a reason. Second, none of us seemed to be the best early risers, even though this day was not the earliest day we had to wake up. Third, the Starbucks in the lobby became a close friend to many of us.

Our morning began with a trolley tour around Kansas City. We had so many students that we had to go on two separate trolleys. Our tour guide was super knowledgeable and let us know just a few of the things Kansas City is known for, such as the underground caves, the beautiful fountains and the many, many barbecue restaurants.

Then, we rehearsed at the hotel and were visited by the composer of one of our pieces, a choral director from Temple. In that two hours we gave our all and realized as a group that we were beyond ready for our performances the next day.

We then had some time to look around the conference where there were never ending rows of booths filled with all things music. Anywhere from a new device to help your vocal chords, to medieval singing clubs, to a quartet booth that the entire choir was able to learn a song from and perform. After some perusing we had the chance to see our first concert and get a little taste of what our performances would look like the following day.

As we walked to our seats in the second balcony of the Muriel Kauffman theatre, we couldn’t believe what we were looking at. The architecture alone was breathtaking, and hearing the choirs perform took it to a whole new level. We were witnessing the best of the country share their music with us, it was something none of us have ever experienced. We saw a high school choir like us, a college choir, and an adult choir. Each of them brought something truly special to the stage but none of them were even close to similar. This all made us more nervous but overall excited to be performing on that very stage.

We ended the day with an Italian buffet back at the hotel and had the rest of the night to ourselves. Although we were all quite aware of the fact that tomorrow would be an early morning, we all bounced from room to pool to room, playing games, talking, and slowly becoming closer to a family than a choir. Curfew came and went, we fell asleep in our rooms, anticipating the amazing day we were about to have.


If anyone reading this is a choir kid, you have to know that early mornings are not exactly forgiving for our voices. So, when we rolled out of bed, both exhausted and exhilarated, we made our way to the first performance hall for our 7:30 warm up, nobody’s voices were in peak form.

We made the best of what we had, but when we moved onto the stage for our sound check everyone was in awe. It was absolutely gorgeous, with a gold color scheme, rows and rows of chairs on balconies upon balconies, and an arced stage that we would have the honor of performing on. When we sang, the acoustics allowed our voices to ring and fill the space. Sure, it was early in the morning, but we still knew enough to appreciate that this was a big deal. This was important.

We moved to the next performance hall for another warm up and sound check. The experience still did not feel completely real. None of us were entirely sure of the gravity of what we were doing.

One out of the eleven high school choirs chosen. The only choir from Pennsylvania. This once in a lifetime opportunity was catching up with us.

We returned to the hotel for a lunch of Subway sandwiches and returned to our rooms to prepare. Makeup, dresses, tuxes; we put on our performance attire and met up in the lobby to make our way to our first performance. We pushed the nerves down, tried to take some deep breaths, but no one could ignore how excited we were to share our music and our message with a crowd on the most beautiful stage imaginable.

This was the moment all of our hard work, our countless hours of preparation, had been leading to. If you ask someone in Chambers Singers what they remember from those two performances, they won’t be able to tell you much. Maybe a few funny anecdotes when looking out at each other or the crowd, or a sublime togetherness, but other than that the performances were practically a blur.

It was so wonderfully in the moment, and all over much too soon. We gave every song our utmost attention, not only singing the words but feeling what they truly meant. We lost ourselves in the music, but if we were unsure about our performance, we had to look no further than both standing ovations, an entire theater of singers and directors and enthusiasts who felt what we felt, understood what we understood.

As impossible as it seemed, we managed to decompress enough to have a fun night of iconic Kansas City barbecue. It was delicious and gave us plenty of time to take pictures together and have a fantastic time just having fun. We were running around, laughing, just relaxing and allowing ourselves to let loose.

The night ended with just hanging out, and for the ones who didn’t want to leave it to the absolute last minute, some packing.


Our final day in Kansas City, and our complete day of tiring travel. We arrived at the airport at about 12:00 p.m., some of us expecting (or praying) for a delayed flight due to the impending snow storms. However, our plane took off on time and only when we got to our layover in Indianapolis we had delay. We sat on the plane for about an hour and a half while we watched people get off and on.

At least it gave us a chance to stretch our legs, but at this point many of us were just so tired, and already understood that we had a lot more travel to do still. We just wanted to get a move on and go. After a delay, we took off and made our way to Baltimore. Rather than being greeted by snow, we only met rain and therefore were able to board our buses easily and make our way to the nearest rest stop for a quick dinner.

We didn’t get much time there since we were still so focused on beating the storm, and when we were about forty minutes from the high school the snow began in earnest. Our bus stopped, and so did our hearts. At this point, it was about ten o’clock at night and we were rightfully exhausted. Yet, none of us could control the weather, so we simply waited until we arrived at the high school.

Except we never arrived at the high school! Our buses were redirected to the Weis parking lot across the street because the North Penn High School parking lot had not been touched yet and snow was still falling.

Our day of travel was finally over. Our parents picked us up and drove us home, and for many of us this was a direct trip to our own comfortable beds and a good night’s sleep.


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1 Comment

One Response to “Chamber Singers travel to ACDA National Conference”

  1. Lauren Wolfe on March 11th, 2019 1:59 pm

    Interesting 🙂

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Chamber Singers travel to ACDA National Conference