For the last two weeks, choral students from Milwaukee Children’s Choir took off on their Western Expansion Tour 2016. This tour included site seeing at some of America’s greatest national monuments, horseback riding, and lots and lots of singing!

Tour Group Photo

Photo Credit: Tom Bagwell

            Our Artistic Director, Marco Melendez, ventured to the Southwest region of the United States with 43 choral students from two of MCC’s choirs; Voices of Eterna and Milwaukee Youth Chorale. The tour kicked off early on June 25th where the students and Mr. Melendez departed from our MCC office. Marco and our students traveled down to Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Kansas City, Missouri, where they met their host families.

The following day, the choir made their first sightseeing stop at the historic National World War One Museum and Memorial in Missouri, followed by an Evensong and Mini-Concert at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral that evening.

WWI Museum in Kansas City

Photo Credit: Tom Bagwell

On this tour to the Southwest, Mr. Melendez wanted to, “capture the essence of the American people’s journey westward”, by having the students experience horseback riding in the Rocky Mountains. Considering that the tour is named the “Western Expansion Tour”, Mr. Melendez wanted his students to get a feel for what the journey was like for thousands made during the California Gold Rush. After an exciting adventure at Sombrero Ranches, the students performed a concert at Zion Lutheran Church in Colorado.

Sombrero Ranches Horseback Riding

Photo Credit: Tom Bagwell

A few days later on July 1st, Marco and the students departed for the Grand Canyon with a tour guide for more sightseeing. Everyone on the tour loved getting to see one of our nation’s parks with the most breathtaking views. For their tour, the students visited the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, which is the most popular area of the park.

Grand Canyon National Park

Photo Credit: Tom Bagwell

            To celebrate the Fourth of July, the choral students went to Disneyland to pay a visit to Mickey Mouse and friends! Everyone had a great time meeting the classic Disney characters, flying high with Dumbo, and beating the heat at Splash Mountain. They ended the night by seeing the world-famous fireworks that have caused people to flock to Disneyland for decades.

            Early the next morning, the group left the Los Angeles area and headed up the Californian coast for the city of San Francisco. They spent the day sight-seeing at the Fisherman’s Warf, the Grace Cathedral, and of course, the tour went to the Golden Gate Park. The children loved getting to see the Golden Gate Bridge, and a highlight was getting to visit the church where “Sister Act”, starring Whoopi Goldberg, was filmed.

            The Western Expansion Tour ended with a collaborative performance of Milwaukee Children’s Choir with the Grammy-award-winning Pacific Boychoir. The audience raved over the concert, and it was a wonderful way to end an eventful two-week tour. The students and Marco arrived at the San Francisco Airport following the concert, and flew home to Milwaukee late that night on the red-eye.