by Patrick Mulcahey, junior, Council Rock High School North
From February 8th to February 16th, the Council Rock Orchestra toured Costa Rica, giving concerts and absorbing the culture. The group traveled to San José, the capital of the country, to Arenal, a resort town located around the rainforest and an active volcano, and to Punta Leona, a beach village.
This long awaited trip was announced last year and was highly anticipated by both its members and the school community. As soon as the trip was announced, massive fundraising efforts began to try to cut the cost of the trip. The orchestra held multiple car washes, sold food products, and hosted many pancake breakfasts.
With much preparation came much excitement, and despite almost a whole week of snow days, the orchestra arrived at 2:00am sharp on February 8th at North to begin the long journey that lay ahead. The orchestra had two flights: Philadelphia to Houston and then Houston to San José. On arrival to San José, perhaps the greatest change was the weather: gone were the days of snow and cold; warm, balmy days had arrived.
San José, the capital of Costa Rica, is the major metropolitan center of the country. Here, the orchestra toured a coffee plantation to learn about the country’s most prized export, hiked on one of the local volcanoes, had a walking tour of the city, and gave two concerts. At their first concert, the orchestra had the opportunity for some local interaction when they played a piece written by a Costa Rican composer side-by-side with a Costa Rican youth orchestra comprised of high school-aged musicians.
After four days in San José, the orchestra traveled to Arenal, a town at the foot of an active volcano. In Arenal, the orchestra took a suspended bridges tour of the rainforest canopy, ziplined, and enjoyed the natural hot springs near the volcano. It was in La Fortuna, a town very close to Arenal, that the group gave its last concert of the tour in the local church whose acoustics were unsurpassed in quality.
The orchestra’s last destination was Punta Leona. It goes without saying that it was paradise there with white sand beaches, clear blue water, and warm temperatures. Here, the orchestra enjoyed the last few days of their trip. This was short-lived, as February 18th was the day to travel home, to return to school and (of course) the snow.
Senior Jason Clibanoff, primary trombone for the orchestra and three-year veteran, remembers the trip quite fondly, “I am so glad that I was able to travel with the music program again; I traveled with the band to Argentina my freshman year, and to travel with the orchestra this year was another great opportunity.” The opinions of other orchestra members are much the same. Costa Rica was a great opportunity to spread the musical passion of North and to learn about other cultures.