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The Review

The official student newspaper of St. John's School.

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Kantorei travels internationally for the first time in 6 years

%E2%80%9CThese+trips+are+spectacular+and+life-changing%2C%E2%80%9D+choir+director+Scott+Bonasso+said.+%E2%80%9CThere%E2%80%99s+nothing+like+performing+that+level+of+music+in+these+extraordinary+venues+and+churches.%E2%80%9D
Courtesy of Cate Adams
“These trips are spectacular and life-changing,” choir director Scott Bonasso said. “There’s nothing like performing that level of music in these extraordinary venues and churches.”

While on the annual Kantorei Spring Break trip, choir president Arjun Singhal expected to sing in front of live audiences in Austria, Prague and Hungary. What he did not expect was for his wallet and passport to get stolen from right under his nose. Early the next morning Singhal was on a train to the US Embassy in Budapest.

While Singhal’s journey to get a new passport was relatively easy, the time it took to get an international choir trip back on track was not. 

This year’s choir tour to Europe marked the school’s first international trip in over six years. Before the pandemic, the excursion was a biennial tradition. Yet the only trip Kantorei made following COVID was to New York in 2022, concluding with a performance at Carnegie Hall.

Before the performances and competitions could commence, the seniors were faced with a dilemma: The seniors who had initially planned on attending the senior trip to the Bahamas would have to rebook their tickets to Austria to secure a spot in the choir.

While some seniors made the tough decision to opt out of Kantorei for their senior year, the majority decided to stay.

“These trips are spectacular and life-changing,” choir director Scott Bonasso said. “There’s nothing like performing that level of music in these extraordinary venues and churches.”

The spring break trip began with a 2-hour drive through Germany until they reached Neuschwanstein Castle in Salzburg, Austria, the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle. The first of their three concerts took place in The Cajetan Church, the city’s oldest church.

Salzburg was also a well-liked destination among the Kantorei students because the landscapes created a comforting atmosphere. In Salzburg, the group stopped by the wedding church from the 1965 movie Sound of Music. 

The next stop was the city of Vienna, known for its significance as the capital of classical music and being home to legendary composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

According to Bonasso, the concert at St. Peter’s Church in Vienna was the perfect example of the trip’s mission: to perform their 45-minute set and display their work for European audiences.  

“The church seemed tailor-made for us,” Bonasso said. “It was one of those concerts where everyone was in the zone and it felt like they could do no wrong.”

But not every moment on the trip was like the concert at St. Peter’s Church. Only a couple hours after the performance, Singhal had his backpack taken. 

After hours of waiting for his documents with the tour guide’s husband “Mr.Barbara”,  Singhal finally received an emergency passport. 

Once the group reunited again, the students were ready to end their trip on a high note. 

“I’m thankful for all the help I received because it showed how the trip was well-planned and properly executed,” Singhal said. 

Their third and final stop was to Budapest. There, Kantorei visited a farm in the countryside where they got to pet baby horses, watch a horse show and compete in a traditional Hungarian whipping game. Participants had two tries to knock down an empty bottle that stood on a wooden log a meter away. Many students attempted and finally junior Cate Adams came out victorious. 

“Surprisingly, on my second try, I was able to whip down the bottle,” Adams said. “I won a bottle of wine which was super funny.”

The trip was a huge success with “students already asking about the next destination” according to Bonasso. 

“There is a buzz in the choir program about it because it was the rebirth of this tour as a part of our curriculum.”

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About the Contributors
Kate Johnson
Kate Johnson, Staff Writer
Kate Johnson ('26) joined The Review in 2022 as a freshman. Her favorite candy is gummy bears and she wants to live in NYC when she is older.
Nia Shetty
Nia Shetty, Staff Writer
Nia Shetty ('27) joined The Review in 2023 as a freshman. She loves her dogs, Chuy and Casper. Her favorite TV character is Dr. House, whose unconventional approach to solving cases makes her laugh all the time.

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