Big thank you from

Wallace pupils take a bite out of the Big Apple on summer tour

The Wallace pupils perform at Grand Central Station. Capella in St John the Divine, New York under the direction of Mr David Falconer.
The Wallace pupils perform at Grand Central Station. Capella in St John the Divine, New York under the direction of Mr David Falconer. 

MEMBERS of Capella, Wallace High School's senior choir, swapped Lisburn for New York City during the summer for their annual end of year tour.

In what was the culmination of months of fundraising and dedicated practice, the choir set off for 'the Big Apple'. Such tours have now become part of the choir's tradition having previously visited Prague, Paris and Belgium but all agreed that this trip was the most exciting yet.

Speaking about the trip, Head of Music Mr David Falconer said: "Having previously visited many beautiful cities in Europe at the end of the school year I thought that it was time for us to go slightly further.

New York seemed the obvious choice and when I announced in September 2008 that we were on our way the response from pupils, parents and the wider school community was very positive."

So positive in fact that 46 pupils made the final trip along with Mr Falconer, Mr McGeown, Ms Bill, Mrs Mitchell and Mr Saunders. The initial few days were spent in Boston where the pupils performed McGlynn's Christus resurgens, Dulaman and Gaudete, Britten's Hymn to the Virgin, Suantrai, Mary's Magnificat and Allegri's Miserere in the Old North Church. Whilst in Boston, Capella also visited Harvard University and the harbour where they got to visit a World War 2 navy boat.

The school party then moved on to New York where they performed at Grand Central Station. Capella also sang in St Mary's Times Square taking their full repertoire to the American audience, described by Year 14 pupil Anna Presho as "the best performance that I have experienced in my three years in Capella."

Whilst in New York the Wallace pupils also went on a guided bus tour to see the many sights on offer, including the Statue of Liberty where the Honours group sang the Owl and the Pussycat and Thomas Tallis's If Ye Love Me.

The group also made their way to Ground Zero and St Paul's Church, the only building in the area not affected by the tragedy on September 11 2001 and a sanctuary to those in need.

Whilst here it was possible to read letters of hope from all around the world as well as to view photos of those lost. There the group sang Hymn to the Virgin which Anna described as "especially poignant and emotional for all involved."

The final performance was in St John's, the largest cathedral in the world and an extremely impressive building. This was a superb place for the pupils who were awaiting their final examination results to finish their school singing career and again left many involved with mixed emotions, elation at their magnificent surroundings but sadness that this was to be their last performance.

Anna Presho concluded: "This was a brilliant experience for all the pupils involved. We would like to thank Mr Falconer and the other teachers for their time and effort before and during the trip and realise how lucky we were to be able to go. Lots of effort went into the fundraising and again we would like to thank those involved with this arduous task. Finally we would like to thank our parents for their support in making this trip possible. Roll on Switzerland in June 2010."

Ulster Star