Have you noticed how quiet Westwood has been the past few weeks? That’s because there are fewer people around. Schools are closed, the cottage crowd is spending weekends at the lake, and, oh yeah, a whole bunch of students from Westwood Collegiate took off to Europe.
After months and months of planning, practicing and penny-pinching, Westwood Band/Choral EuroTour 2012 — which included 115 students, teachers and parent chaperones — left Richardson International Airport on July 6 for Frankfurt, Germany.
Despite a few travel delays and a seven-hour time difference, the group dove into a dizzying schedule of sightseeing and performances. Well, sightseeing anyway — rain repeatedly interrupted concerts throughout the trip. Even so, the pride of Westwood made their mark. If you’ve ever traveled with a sports group or an exchange trip, you’ll know that your matching shirts or jackets attract attention. With a uniform of red T-shirts and khaki shorts, this group was an unmistakable sea of red at every stop of the tour.
For the first 12 days of the 18-day adventure, the group adopted two magnificent touring busses as their home-away-from-home, traveling from Heidelberg and Bad Wimpfen, Germany to Pisa, Venice, Florence and Bassano del Grappa, Italy, and then onto Interlaken, Switzerland, Hallein and Salzburg, Austria, and back to Germany again for a visit to Dachau and a home-stay in Auerbach, the final leg of an unforgettable journey.
All along the way the choir and bands, with either music or cheerful interaction, entertained locals, earning accolades and a wealth of experience.
Parents left behind have logged excess Internet hours keeping tabs on their teens. Artfully administered by Brenden Burnell — former student/Eurotour traveler/photographer and student teacher at Westwood next year — the Eurotour2012 blog has allowed family and friends to tag along day by day, frame by frame, playing a Westwood version of Where’s Waldo finding familiar faces.
As you read this, the group will have just arrived home. Having returned to Winnipeg late on July 24, tour members will undoubtedly be glad to be back on Canadian soil and will have many tales to tell. They have unquestionably accumulated trinkets, treasures and memories to last a lifetime. Lucky for them, they still have half of summer break left to share their stories and settle back into Westwood life.
So much for it remaining quiet around here.
Sharon Pfeifer is a community correspondent for Westwood. You can contact her at email@example.com.