Summit Singers’ trip to Italy was a foreign relations success |

Summit Singers’ trip to Italy was a foreign relations success

I would like to thank the community members and organizations who helped make the Italy trip possible for the Summit High School Summit Singers choir.

By your direct donations, your support at all the fundraising activities and your encouragement and good wishes, you made this trip of a lifetime possible.

I also thank the school board for allowing the trip. Though it did not have the courage to affirm its endorsement of the trip, it had the integrity to allow the students’ parents to make the decision to let their children have this experience.

To Cathie Hill, Caroline Foley, and most especially Mark Hill, you three deserve immense credit for making this happen.

I have traveled from Canada and Alaska to Mexico and the Caribbean, but never outside North America. It had never occurred to me to travel without a fishing rod in hand, and I almost took one to Venice just to check it out.

Cathie was our family’s representative on the school language trips, and as much as my other two children, Chris and Mike, blossomed on these special occasions, I believe nothing the school has ever allowed can beat an international choir trip.

Besides all the obvious exposure to culture, art, language, architecture and history that only international travel can provide, we were involved in a bonding process that absolutely thrilled me for these students.

It wasn’t primarily the singing, though the kids were great and should be very proud of their work and second place trophy. It was meeting and singing with other students and adults, from the Italian high school to the practice with the kids from New Jersey and Washington.

I know my son Tim will never forget singing with the Croatian men’s group in the community center. It was amazing. They met and connected with hundreds of people in Verona, Florence, Venice and Rome.

The bond of peace and goodwill to and from all these citizens of countries from around the world was beyond my wildest expectations.

Even where there were not concerts scheduled, our kids sang in the airports, to the gondoliers and even to the shopkeepers for deals on gifts for home.

I never saw or heard a single anti-American slogan nor ever felt uncomfortable for being in Italy. This did not surprise me as Italians have the reputation for being some of the friendliest people on the earth.

The obvious solution for when government policies strain the good will of people around the world: sing to each other.

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