At the end of my Sophomore year of high school, I received a slightly unique looking letter in the mail labeled the Washington Ambassadors of Music (WAM). When I opened it, it said that my high school choir teacher had recommended me to the WAM program. At first I thought it was a scam, and that this kind of opportunity couldn't be true, but the next day when I asked my choir teacher about it, she said that she was asked by the people in charge of the program if there was anyone in the high school choir that she thought would do well in such a program, and I was one of the few that she recommended. That is when my adventure began.
The Washington Ambassadors of Music is a program where members of high school choirs and bands are either recommended to it or the individuals would audition for a spot. They then go to England, France, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, Italy, and Germany within two weeks and perform in churches and other venues. Of course, due to the fact that the members are in such amazing places, they are also allotted some time to tour and explore as well.
After finding out that the program was legitimate, I looked more into it and found out it was quite expensive. My family was willing to help, but I still had to come up with some of the money myself, so I made a GoFundMe account and post. Eventually from that, although I didn't get all the money from it, I was able to raise the funds needed, and the Summer after my junior year, I departed on the adventure of a lifetime.
After meeting all of my fellow WAM members and practicing the songs together for around a week, we finally all got together at the airport to catch our flight to Atlanta, where we would catch our next flight to England. I said my goodbyes to my Mom who brought me to the airport, consisting of multiple hugs and walked with the group to the security checkpoint. After getting on the flight, I finally began relaxing and got to learn more about some of the others.
We then had a few hours long layover before our next flight. We got bored quickly, so a few of us laid down a blanket on the floor and played cards. After getting tired of that, all of us walked around the airport and found a few more activities to keep us occupied until the airplane arrived. Not much later, we boarded the last plane we would fly in for two weeks.
When we finally arrived in England, we all brought our luggage to our rooms and proceeded downstairs to eat. Over the day or two we had before our first performance, we toured the city by walking all over the place. We even got to see the British Museum and all of its amazing pieces. Near the end of our time in England, I got to see my first professionally performed play, which was the play Wicked. I ended up loving the play and it turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip.
I performed in a few churches, took a few bus rides, and rode a ferry or two, and it all went by in a blur, with multiple highlights all throughout it. Then I arrived in my favorite place of all, Switzerland. The water there was a beautiful light aqua color and the sun reflected off of it in such a way that it looked as if it were filled with diamonds. We got to stay in a house in the cutest little town near a lake, and the people there were extremely sweet and welcoming.
Not only was Switzerland my favorite because of the way it looked, but also because of one of the events. We got to have a fondue party. Before being able to dig in, we performed our songs and had a blast doing so. Then, when we did get to finally eat, the host decided to add a little twist.
The fondue party host said that anyone who dropped their bread in the fondue had to go around the table kissing the cheeks of those of the opposite gender. Because of this, I was very careful when dipping my bread. Then my friends who I happened to be sitting with decided to make a game out of it. They would stack multiple pieces of bread on the stick and would try dipping it in the fondue without having the bread fall off, often failing. This created a night full of laughs and fond memories.
Along with that amazing experience, I also got to go all the way to the top of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, tour Notre Dame, sing for fun in a little plaza area in France, and even got to go on gondolas in Italy, among many other life-changing experiences. I made so many new and extremely talented friends, many of which made my trip even more enjoyable. Yes, it was expensive, but it was more than worth what it cost, and I would never in a million years take it back.