During the Half Term holiday a selection of the Prep's choir members represented the school in a choral tour of Rome. Between all the pizza and pasta, the group was able to absorb the culture and heritage of this beautiful, historic city, as well as perform in some of the destination's most iconic locations. Here are some of the trip highlights.
We left the Prep for the airport in high spirits and were treated, upon arrival in Rome, to a belly-busting three-course dinner! After our evening meal and much excitement, we eventually settled down for the evening.
Fuelled by a hearty breakfast, we headed to the Vatican Museum and en route we paused for a light refreshment and our first of many gelati! The Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel were extraordinary! Each room was decorated with rich and vibrant art work, which culminated in the final room; painted by Michelangelo. This was our introduction to Rome and it certainly did not disappoint: many pupils were in awe of this once-in-a-lifetime experience!
After a freshly cooked pizza, we headed to our first concert venue, Sant’ Andrea della Valle. The venue was breathtaking and the pupils raised their game to fill the vast space in the building. The concert was well received by many tourists as well as Prep parents who had travelled to Rome to listen.
Sight-seeing was the order of the day. We visited Piazza del Popolo and Piazza Navona and enjoyed looking around the gardens and eating (yet another!) gelato.
On route to the Spanish steps we passed Rome’s most expensive shopping street, which included shops such as Gucci, Prada and Cartier... but resisted the temptation and went on instead, to lunch. We walked around 12 miles on this day alone and climbed the 551 steps up the dome of St Peter’s Basilica. We were able to see across the whole city of Rome and, naturally, many ‘selfies’ were taken!
When walking around St Peter’s, it was almost impossible to take in the incredible architecture. The Year 8s enjoyed translating the Latin inscriptions around the ceiling. Afterwards, we headed to Castel Sant' Angelo, a building which featured in the film Angels and Demons. Once at the top, we delighted in taking pictures with a certain seagull who photo-bombed every shot taken. By now, it was beginning to turn dark and after a flash of lightning accompanied by an almighty crash, we enjoyed dashing back to our hotel for our evening meal and activities.
For Gladiator enthusiasts, this was the most exciting day of the tour as we visited the Colosseum. After several selfies with gladiators during the previous few days, we were all primed to see this historic building. We donned our gladiator helmets and swords and charged into the arena! After a lengthy tour around the Colosseum gift shop, we finished our sight-seeing with a visit to the Roman Forum.
Later, the group ventured towards our final destination, the Pantheon. The large columns at the entrance of the building towered over us as we wandered into our final performance venue. There were over one thousand tourists in the vicinity when we performed! Both soloists, Izzy Reid and Charles Hellens, sang with confidence and the choir sang with the crest of Cheltenham College Prep emblazoned on their poloshirts to the thousands of tourists, many of whom also have photos and videos of our choir performing. They were wonderful.
On the bus journey back to the hotel we endured (I mean, enjoyed!) various renditions of Let It Go and Uptown Funk. Many ended their day by sharpening their bargaining skills at the local market and spent money on a colourful array of hats, sunglasses and scarves. After our awards evening (including best hat wearer, George Hardy) we headed to bed ready for our return journey.
Our final day ran smoothly as we headed back to Cheltenham Prep. Our musical, cultural (and walking) tour of Rome was certainly enjoyed by all. The photos you will have seen can only highlight some of the great moments had on the trip.
A very special mention:
We want to thank those parents who joined us in Rome to support the choir with their performances. As well as that, we need to thank Mrs Reid and Miss Sheldon, whose understanding of the Italian language was very helpful indeed. Thank you also to Mr Perona-Wright who organised the trip and led the way during our musical performances. Most importantly, thank you to those children who came along. They were proud and commendable representatives of our school and performed outstandingly. Here’s to our next tour; watch this space…
Grazie e arrivederci!