by Gabriella DePinho, Editor-in-Chief
While many students had made all kinds of plans for spring break, one group of students had their sights set on the golden coast. However, they’ve been grounded for now.
The Manhattan College Singers were set to fly to San Francisco for spring break to perform alongside the choir at fellow Lasallian college, Saint Mary’s College of California, but due to coronavirus concerns, the trip has been postponed indefinitely.
The group was planning on taking a total of 35 to 45 people to California, a number which included performers and their coaches, Andy Bauer and Geoff Mattoon, but when planning for the trip initially started, the group had hoped to go to Europe.
“Since fall of last year, there had been talk of Singers doing a tour in Europe,” said Naomi Uy, a senior and member of the group. “Unfortunately, those plans fell through when school administrators decided they could only cover a small amount of the trip, making it unaffordable for most students”
With Europe out of the question, the Singers executive board still wanted to plan an unforgettable trip to top the group’s trip to Canada at the end of the 2018-19 academic year.
“Back in September, October, Jenn [Bueti] and I were brainstorming ideas for a trip and San Francisco was on the list of cities we came up with,” said Audrey Sabatino, a senior and the vice president of the club. “Andy Bauer then told us about a fellow Lasallian college – St. Mary’s College of California – that was in the San Francisco area, and we thought connecting with the school and meeting students in their choir could make for a really fun trip.”
After deciding on a city, the board had to begin planning right away in order to secure flights, hotel rooms and make sure the performances could happen.
“The planning was an ongoing process that took up until a few weeks before the trip,” said Grace Droege, the secretary of Singers. “Everyone worked really hard to coordinate and plan out the trip.”
As plans became finalized in the early part of the spring semester, the threat of the coronavirus spread throughout the United States. The threat hit nearer to home when New York confirmed its first case on March 1. After that, more and more cases started to pop up and people started to get more anxious. The Office of Health Services first sent two emails out to the student body, one at the end of January and the other at the end of February, prior to the confirmation of the first case in New York.
On March 3, the Office of the President sent out an email which stated, “we are discouraging students, faculty and staff from any nonessential international travel as we continue to monitor developments provided by the CDC, the New York City Department of Health and the New York State Department of Health.” The same email confirmed that international L.O.V.E. trips were canceled, however, the Singers trip was still on, but the anxiety was growing.
“When the coronavirus first became a point of discussion through the media, we didn’t think the trip would be canceled,” Uy said. “We knew it was a possibility if the virus became something serious but, at that point, it was barely a concern for us.”
Sabatino said, “I definitely saw several headlines about coronavirus in San Francisco specifically, so I had wondered how that would affect our trip.”
Ultimately, the trip was canceled, not by the club, but by the college.
“ Our plan was to wait for the school’s decision, meaning we never planned to cancel the trip on our own,” Droege said. “We knew the decision was out of our hands and even out of the administration’s hands. Ultimately, this was the safest decision for our students as disappointing as that is.”
While the students understand the decision, they are still sad to see that plans to explore a city they had never been to before or the chance to meet more students were canceled.
“I’m really bummed,” said member Allison Powers. “I know it’s for the best, but it’s really hard. We had a really great trip planned and we were working really hard on some complex music that we were excited to showcase.”
Uy said, “It’s a tough pill to swallow and I don’t want to end my college career like this but there’s not much we can do.”
While the trip has been canceled for now, the members of Singers still have a lot to look forward to if Manhattan College returns to in-person instruction at the end of the semester.
“If the school reverts back to in-person instruction, the only thing I have left to look forward to is the Spring concert,” Uy said. “I’d be so grateful if I had the opportunity to perform with Singers one last time but only time will tell how the virus plays into this semester.”
The group also hopes to be able to reschedule their trip to California, but if they cannot make it out to the golden coast, the students will be performing the repertoire of music they had prepared for the spring concert which is currently scheduled for May 3.