Reflections on the Philadelphia Music Tour

On Thursday, April 25 at 7:45am, a tour bus with 35 young musicians, 6 adults, and our bus driver Ezra, drove away from Mountain Laurel Waldorf School, heading south to Philadelphia. It was a beautiful Spring day for our trip! We arrived 3 1/2 hours later at the beautiful, old school called the Philadelphia Waldorf School. We unpacked our instruments and bed rolls and entered the Great Room, where in an hour, the Mountain Laurel Waldorf School Recorder Ensemble and Chamber Group would play a concert for all of PWS. Violins, cellos, basses, and recorders of all sizes scattered around the Great Room. Chairs are set up for everyone in the school and the stage is being prepared. Mr. Losee and Matan Ziv set up the percussion and drums Everyone is filled with excitement! The Mountain Laurel ensembles did not disappoint as our young musicians played brilliantly and the large audience of 150 was very impressed, offering thunderous applause at the end of the show. A quick pizza lunch for everyone and then our group set off for a walk to a local park.

When we arrived back at PWS, we were treated to an hour of Circus Arts performed by the Fifth through Eighth grades of PWS, followed by an hour of PWS students teaching Mountain Laurel Waldorf School students of some of the fine points of Circus Arts. We then boarded the bus for a short ride to a wonderful Thai restaurant called Yanako. The owner and chef, the angelic Moon Krapugthong, greeted us with a bow and showed us to our private room for dinner. Moon was very honored to speak to the children. She told stories about the smell of jasmine rice wafting through her neighborhood and of being a child growing up in Thailand. After her talk, we enjoyed the most delicious food with coconut ice cream for dessert! Upon arriving back at PWS we played a little basketball to unwind, and then lights out…

Lights back on at 7am on Friday morning! It was raining as we packed the bus for our trip north to the River Valley Waldorf School. Our bagel (and coffee!!) breakfast magically appeared as we pulled away from PWS. Chaperones Tricia McCloskey and Nancy Hoose were amazing at figuring out the details with so many bagel sandwiches. We were all so happy to be on the road again! We arrived at River Valley Waldorf School and were greeted by a friendly staff. We set up once more, this time in a smaller room with great acoustics, a wide but shallow stage, and a beautiful backdrop of blue sky and white clouds. After warming up, we were ready for our second concert. The Recorder and Chamber Ensembles played the same show that they had played at PWS. The River Valley First though Eighth grades were very excited to hear the Recorder Ensemble’s Baroque Suite, as well as the Chamber Groups’s Bach and Led Zeppelin. Mountain Laurel Waldorf School students then visited the classrooms for a lunch of pizza and salad, and it was time to leave. We thanked everyone at RVWS and boarded the bus one more time. Ezra honked the bus horn a couple of times as we pulled away from the school, waving to the children. It was an uneventful and somewhat quiet ride back to New Paltz.

Mark and I would like to thank all of our chaperones: Tricia McCloskey, Nancy Hoose, Patty Salone, Katie Guernsey, Vince Orlando and Chris Losee for being exceptional chaperones. Everyone enjoyed being together. And a special thanks to the teachers of Mountain Laurel Waldorf School and particularly the administration, Judy Jaeckel, Patricia Kuyl and Carol Jordan, for all of their help with the logistics. Thanks a ton! We couldn’t have done it without you! And of course we would like to thank the parents for your support of our music program. It continues to be a privilege to teach your very talented and musical children!

With gratitude and love,
Steve and Mark Bernstein