By Jess Decina
During their spring break, nine juniors from Westminster Choir College (WCC) traveled to the Bahamas in a medley of music education and performance. But while they were there, they faced an interesting identity crisis.
Kate Campe, a music education major and Adrian Archer, a sacred music major and WCC’s only Bahamian student, planned the trip independently. Since they did not travel through the college, they had to be careful where they could use the school’s namesake, Campe said.
“If we were going to do concerts down there, we couldn’t say ‘Westminster,’” she said. “We were ‘Adrian’s friends who happen to go to the same school as him.’”
Despite the copyright glitch, the students spent four days singing and serving different areas in the Bahamas.
“It’s something I really wanted to happen,” Campe said. “I really wanted to do something good for the school.”
Archer’s connection to the islands was a huge asset to the trip. According to Campe, he “knows everyone and everyone knows him.”
“It was really this big dream of his to create a fellowship between Westminster and the people of the Bahamas,” she said. “A lot of people know him, but they don’t know what he’s doing here.”
After settling into the islands on their first day, the students spent an afternoon at The Ranfulry Home for Children, an orphanage in Nassau. For Sara Noble, a voice performance major, the visit to the orphanage was a saddening experience.
“It was really unsettling,” she said. “I wanted to take everything I had and just give it to them.”
The students returned to the orphanage later in the week, and attempted to switch from individual time to a large group activity. But by the end of the day, many of the children became distracted, said Perri Sussman, a voice performance major.
“There were some who were into it, and others were not,” she said. “It was chaotic by the end.”
Still, Sussman and others were grateful for the experience. It was especially difficult for Campe to leave the orphanage behind on her second visit.
“Leaving the first time I could say, ‘I’ll be back.’ This time I couldn’t,” she said. “But we all did what we could.”
Another stop on the trip was to St. John’s Primary School, where the group spent an entire day teaching music to children ranging from kindergarten to seventh grade. Campe and Dan Colgan, both music education majors, were ecstatic.
“[I hope] I can walk into a classroom and have my kids say, ‘Whoohoo! Music time!’” she said. “They were all just absolutely jumping for it.”
Afterward, the students traveled to the College of the Bahamas, where they watched a rehearsal with the college’s community choir.
“In the Bahamas, everybody sings,” Colgan said. “They have community choirs up the wazoo.”
The students departed the Bahamas on Saturday, March 18, but snowstorms in the Northeastern United States diverted their flight to Miami. What started as the group’s “Bahama-vention” quickly became its “Miami-vention,” Campe said jokingly.
“All nine of us became very close, closer than we expected,” she said. “We all decided, ‘If I had to get stranded anywhere with eight people, it would be with you guys.’”
Although they’ve been settled into school for three weeks, the trip is still a vivid memory for the students. When the stress of classes catches up with Noble, she often pictures herself back on the islands, she said.
“It wasn’t like we saved the world, but for those four days it felt like it,” she said.