By GABRIELLA BOCK | Contributing Writer
Just a few weeks into the new school year and the gifted members of the Palisades Charter High School Symphony Orchestra already have their sights set on next summer.
As part of a unique musical exchange program, the 80-person ensemble will travel halfway across the globe next June to participate in a 10-day performance tour of Australia.
The three-city tour of Brisbane, Cairns and Sydney marks the first international excursion for the music group.
Comprised of the most advanced string, woodwinds, brass and percussion players at Pali High, the Symphony Orchestra is an audition-only group that rehearses daily before school.
Known for its annual Beethoven Symphony, past Symphony Orchestra concerts include complex pieces such as Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade,” Saint-Saëns’ “Danse Bacchanale” from “Samson and Delila,” Sibelius’ “Finlandia” and Respighi’s “Pines of Rome.”
Director Elizabeth Stoyanovich told the Palisadian-Post that the trip will not only offer the Pali musicians an opportunity to showcase their talents to an international audience, but will also provide them with a sundry of cultural learning experiences—for many participants, this will be their first time traveling outside the United States.
“All of the students will get to tour the famed Sydney Opera House and snorkel through the Great Barrier Reef while it still exists,” Stoyanovich revealed to the Post. “It will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Other itinerary items include educational trips to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and Sydney Aquarium, and a workshop with a local aboriginal group where students will learn firsthand about their cultural traditions.
They’ll even have the opportunity to meet a koala, or two.
“A good chunk of our schedule is dedicated to learning about Australia’s diverse and fascinating ecosystems,” said Stoyanovich, a once assistant conductor of Orange County’s Pacific Symphony Orchestra.
In total, the trip will cost around $4,439 per student, which includes airfare and lodging. In order to help lower the cost for the students, the Symphony Orchestra is seeking donations through a GoFundMe campaign.
“It’s, of course, pretty expensive to travel internationally, and some families have more than one student in the orchestra,” Stoyanovich explained. “Our goal is to raise enough money to reduce those fees by half.
“We hope to see all 80 of our talented Symphony Orchestra members in Australia next year.”
For more information or to donate to the Pali High Symphony Orchestra Australia Tour, visit gofundme.com/symphonyorchestra.