[Slive.com] Staten Islander performs in Jerusalem with Young People’s Chorus

Slive: February 5, 2020
Words: Victoria Priola

“STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A 17-year-old Staten Island Technical High School senior took the trip of a lifetime to pursue her passion for music in an international setting.

Iandra Ramos, of Dongan Hills, and 11 other Young People’s Chorus members traveled to Jerusalem for the World Holocaust Forum for a week, performing at the international commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and Birkenau.

The Young People’s Chorus was the youngest group to perform at the international commemoration, attended by French President Emmanuel Macron, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, Italian President Sergio Mattarella, and King Philippe of Belgium.Ramos, who occasionally sings with her high school glee club, said she endured three weeks of rehearsals before boarding the plane to Jerusalem.

“The World Holocaust Forum was what made this trip so meaningful,” Ramos told SILive.com. “I think that celebrating it and performing in front of really important world leaders made this trip so important to me. It has really changed my life.” Outside of the performance, the chorus toured historic sites and explored Jerusalem’s culinary scene during the week-long stay.

“This trip wasn’t just about going on a tour,” Ramos said. “It was about experiencing the country and all its beauty as well as getting closer to people in my chorus I didn’t really talk to as much before.”

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TRIP, AS TOLD BY TEENS

“Jerusalem has always been a place I’ve found interesting,” said Aidan Metz, 15, of Long Island. “We were there for a purpose and I knew that we were going to give it our all on stage. It was a lot of pressure but I was just focused on the music while on stage.”

“I think the best part of the trip was interacting with the other groups because we were singing with a Russian group, a French group and a British group along with a Russian orchestra,” said Elliot Sadoff, a 17-year-old member of YPC. “Although we didn’t all speak the same language, music brought us together. It was beautiful to witness.”

There were other highlights for the students, as well.

“My favorite memory of this trip was the food tour,” said Michaela Duryea, 17, of Queens. “I love experiencing food from all around the world. It’s my favorite thing to do when I go somewhere new.”

Other students said they enjoyed the scenery and culture of the city.

“The most memorable part was definitely touring the old city of Jerusalem,” said Victoria Manning, 17 of the Bronx. “In the city here, we’re around tourists all the time, so it was cool to go somewhere new and be on the other end of it.”

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