The flights to NYC and back to Seattle were good. We brought a lot of violins, bow cases, suitcases and back packs on board with us, and they helped us stow it all in the overhead bins. Checking bags was easy and quick, and the flight crew was helpful.
I give Robert (the Tour Manager) an 11 on a scale of 1-10. He was great from the minute we got to baggage claim, to the time he dropped us off for our trip home. Everyone on the tour bus enjoyed his mix of history, facts, humor, and knowledge about NYC. That he was from NYC made it even better for me. He described the 9/11 Memorial, and the day that the Towers came down with such poignancy that it was a morning to never forget. He let the kids share their thoughts after taking in the reflective fountains, which was an emotional time for all of us. The whole touring time was awesome. All the different buildings, churches, Harlem, and of course Time Square were presented so well! His flexibility was appreciated as well.
The motorcoaches were great! The drivers were excellent! We had 3, but 1 main driver for most of the days. He was from New Jersey, and was an excellent driver. He let our guide Robert do most of the driving, and only spoke when asked a direct question.
The accommodations at Holiday Inn Midtown were quite good! I have seen news reports since returning to Seattle, about some hotels and motels charging $1,000 a night, for Super Bowl weekend, and the rooms are filthy and gross! Our rooms were clean, and the breakfast was good.
Performing at the Trump Tower was a very good experience for the Overlake Chamber Orchestra. The beauty of the setting, and the bustle of the Atrium made for a good concert situation. The lunch afterwards was great too!
Our time at the VA Medical Center was the highlight of our trip. 3 of the students in the orchestra are from the same family, and both of their parents came along as chaperones. Their grandfather came down from Philadelphia to attend the concert. He was a Korean War veteran, and was very moved to hear his grandkids play at the Medical Center. The Vets attending the concert were very appreciative, and hopefully the ones viewing in their rooms enjoyed it. We certainly did!
Our choir teacher came along as soloist and chaperone, and at our post-trip meeting she said about the sightseeing…”perfect”, and I agree.
My interactions with the MCI team were excellent. I really appreciated the flexibility and kind responses that I got to my many requests, inquiries, and upgrade demands.
I had never been to NYC before. I loved it all, and was surprised and impressed at every turn. (Robert could not believe that I had not been to NYC before!) As a Seattle person (born in Portland, OR), I never thought that I would see the 9/11 Memorial. During our visit to the Memorial, I had many feelings and thoughts, and so did the students. It is hard to put into words. Let’s just say that being at the fountains, with all the names, is something that I will never forget.
We are having a post-NYC trip gathering with all the students and parents and chaperones on March 13th. We will show the CD, and have a time for sharing and discussion. I will let you all know if anything interesting is shared by the kids.
Mark Lotz, Orchestra Director
Overlake School String Chamber Orchestra