Journal: The Trip to Our Nation’s Capital

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The Rice Memorial High School Music Department on their trip to Washington DC, standing in front of the Supreme Court of the United States on Monday, April 24, 2023. (Photo/Jeff Thompson)

Marissa Cross and Logan Forcier

This article is a reflection of the music department’s trip to Washington, DC, from the account of two staff writers, Logan Forcier and Marissa Cross. Ed.

It started with a twelve-hour drive to DC. We stopped along the way at a few places before arriving, ironically, at our hotel on Vermont Avenue.

Saturday, April 22:
We loaded onto the bus and drove to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History where we visited various exhibits, before dining in their cafe. One of the exhibits was a northern lights exposition. There were descriptions of nocturnal animals and images of the northern lights. We then walked to the National Museum of African American History and Culture to learn about racism, slavery, the civil rights movement, and Rosa Parks America and African American culture. Due to thunderstorms, we skipped visiting the Arlington National Cemetery, Iwo Jima Memorial, Air Force Memorial, and 9/11 Memorial and regrouped at our hotel before finishing out the day with a master class in which Kerna Bond-Bardes, Catherine Viner, Gabe Thompson, and Connor Trombly were taught in the masterclass while the rest of the chorus watched.

Logan’s favorite: My favorite activity today was the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. They had many different cool exhibits like the elephant exhibit and the mummy exhibit. However, my favorite exhibit was the Hope Diamond. It was beautiful and everyone in my group enjoyed it. Our experience set the precedent for the rest of the trip, and it was wonderful.

The Hope Diamond on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. (Photo/Logan Forcier)

Marissa’s favorite: My favorite activity was seeing the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It was enlightening and gave the history of how Black people arrived in America and were subjected to slavery, racism, and persecution. Despite these challenges, they managed to create a rich and beautiful culture. We even saw one of Oprah Winfrey’s dresses and the Black Panther Suit worn by Chadwick Boseman!

The Black Panther Suit worn by Chadwick Boseman. (Photo/Deborah Bounds)

Sunday, April 23:
We attended Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. We then went to the National Mall where we visited multiple monuments, even singing the National Anthem at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. After the long walk, we settled in at the Catholic University of America to see a performance of Anything Goes. After the show, we had a sit-down dinner at Buca Di Beppo. Logan wanted to see Logan Circle, a traffic circle with a park in the middle, so a small group made an evening excursion into the city.

Logan Forcier standing by the statue in the middle of Logan Circle on Sunday, April 23, 2023. (Photo/Marissa Cross)

Logan’s favorite: I have to say my favorite part of today was going to Logan Circle. Not only because it has my name in the title, but also because I was able to go on a walk with some of my friends in a small group and enjoy each other’s company.

Marissa’s favorite: I really enjoyed Mass at the Basilica. The church was beautiful and held large organs. The music was loud but melodious. I also appreciated our late walk to see Logan Circle.

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. (Photo/Marissa Cross)

Monday, April 24:
We visited the Supreme Court of the United States, which was in session at the time, the Library of Congress, and the Capitol Building. We then went to the National Holocaust Museum. A photo at the White House preceded a performance for a small audience at the Catholic University of America.

The United States Capitol Building. (Photo/Logan Forcier)

Logan’s favorite: Everything we did this day was informative and an overall good experience; however my favorite was the performance at the Catholic University. Though the audience was small, it was fun to see some familiar faces while we performed. We couldn’t do all the songs we knew because we were missing some people, but it was still a good show.

The Rice Memorial High School Chorus at their performance at Catholic University. (Photo/Jeff Thompson)

Marissa’s favorite: While the National Holocaust Museum was a sad experience, it was an extremely sobering and enlightening one. Walking through the exhibit taught me things I did not know before about Hitler’s invasion of Germany and his persecution of Jewish, Roma, and other minority groups. It made me appreciate the freedoms I have today and opened my eyes to historic and modern persecution and perspectives. I recommend taking a trip to this museum anytime you are in DC and help to spread awareness about anti-semitism still present in the United States and around the world and how to combat this prejudice.

A quote on the wall of the National Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. (Photo/Marissa Cross)

The trip was enlightening for the students and a good experience for the Music Department. It was the first trip out of the state for the music department since the COVID-19 outbreak put fun trips like these on hold. Chorus leader Kevin Ginter plans to coordinate more trips like these in the near future including next year’s trip across the pond to London.