El Segundo High School Choir Gives Moving Performances in Paris

On June 12, Gianna Summers, choral director for the El Segundo High School Choirs, hopped on a plane with 49 of her students and took them on the “ESHS Paris Tour 2016.” With 15 pieces of music prepared in 15 months, the next eight days were going to be busy.

Two major performances were scheduled while in Paris; one at Disneyland, and the other at the Notre Dame Cathedral. While spending two days at Disneyland Paris, the ESHS choir had the opportunity to participate in a workshop with Disney artists at the park. Another highlight of the trip was the performance at the Notre Dame Cathedral.

“Our Notre Dame performance was indescribable,” said Summers. “Seeing our students share their music with strangers from all over the world was an experience I’ll never forget. The choir’s last note rang through the cathedral. The moment my arms lowered and I looked at the students, we were all in tears. The spiritual love in this famous cathedral, paired with more than a year’s worth of hard work in preparation, came through in the smiles and tears.”

While in Paris, the students toured famous places like the Palace of Versailles and the Louvre. “I really liked the Louvre.” Emma Byron, an ESHS tenth grade tenor. “The fact that I saw paintings I have learned about since I was a little girl was life changing.

Under Summer’s direction, students in the ESHS Choirs have had the opportunity to travel abroad, as well as in the United States, perform live, learn about different cultures, and further their musical education. In past years, the choir has traveled to places such as the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, the Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C., the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, and they have performed on Broadway in New York City. Participating in choir provides students with opportunities they may not have otherwise.

These trips are paid for by the students and through fundraising. “Giving my students the opportunity to learn through traveling with music enriches their lives, their surroundings, and also formulates strong music connections,” said Summers. “Music is the language each culture shares.”

Arts in education encourages and helps in the improvement of students’ attitudes regarding school while also teaching children how to better communicate with adults and peers. “These performance tours are important—the arts are incredibly important to many students,” said Summers. “The arts provide a broad view of learning and give students the foundation to be creative, fail, succeed, push themselves, and be unique all at the same time!”

Today, there is not a lot of budget allocated for the arts in public schools. A good portion of arts programming at the El Segundo Unified School District is funded by the El Segundo Educational Foundation, which is generously supported by the community.

“I believe arts education is important because when students have so many classes that can be stressful, it is nice to go to a class and relax your mind with singing, or with drawing, or with whatever form of creative expression a student chooses,” said Byron.

 

Caption 1:

El Segundo High School Choir strikes a pose on the main stage at Disneyland Paris.

Caption 2:

El Segundo High School Choir is all smiles after a memorable performance inside Notre Dame Cathedral.

 

July 21, 2016