A Musical Summer Abroad for Massapequa Students


Nine musicians from Massapequa High School traveled to Europe this summer, visiting numerous cities to perform in concerts and also do some sightseeing. The musicians included current students and graduates from the Class of 2023.

Nine Massapequa High School students, accompanied by chorus teacher Nichole Greene, took part in the American Music Abroad and performed throughout Europe in July and August. Back row, from left, are Miles Todtfeld, Brian Pianese, Ricky Chen, Sharif Zaky and Trent Zihal. Front row, from left, are Ms. Greene, Annalise Taylor, Lily O’Daly, Shyla Terrero and Ava McCarthy. (Contributed photo)

The trip was sponsored by American Music Abroad, a company that has been providing overseas musical experiences to students from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania for more than 40 years. Students are selected based on recommendations from their music teachers and auditions.

Massapequa’s participants included Brian Pianese, Sharif Zaky and Trent Zihal from the band, Ricky Chen, Ava McCarthy, Annalise Taylor and Miles Todtfield from the orchestra, and Lily O’Daly and Shyla Terrero from the chorus. Massapequa High School a cappella choir teacher Nichole Greene accompanied the students and was also selected as a choral conductor for the trip.

Ms. Greene and the students began their travels on July 17 when they flew into Frankfurt, Germany. Throughout the trip, they visited numerous cities in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy and Switzerland. Prior to their departure, all students in the American Music Abroad program met for a three-day orientation program and rehearsal at Kean University in Union, New Jersey. The night before departure, the musicians performed a farewell concert for family and friends.

Students returned from the trip on Aug. 2 with many fond memories. Trent enjoyed performing in Westendorf, Austria as well as sightseeing in Prague and spending time in the Alps. Lily’s musical highlight was singing in different cathedrals, particularly the cathedral in Salzburg, Austria where Mozart was baptized. She also liked visiting the city of Lucerne in Switzerland with its prominent view of the Alps, and well as seeing the Lion Monument.

“I think what made a lasting impression was all the small activities that really tied the trip together,” Ava said, “like the night in Italy when we all went swimming at the hotel, or how we all learned to yodel together in Westendorf during the Tyrolian evening.”

Ricky’s fondest memories were performing in small villages like Turkheim and Wolframs-Eschenbach, both in Germany

“I was touched that seemingly an entire community had coalesced and given up a Sunday evening to see and hear us play music,” Ricky said. “In spite of our language barrier and cultural differences, I could feel how music connected us with them – in their hearty applause, their demands for encores and how they sat still and listened raptly for over an hour. It reminded me as to why I play music and why I should continue playing.”

–Submitted by the Massapequa School District

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