Show Choir Goes to Nashville


Show Choir, Show Band, Music Unlimited & Stage Crew in Nashville 2023

Zoe Rodriguez, Staff Writer

On Thursday, March 9th of 2023, the entirety of Waltham’s Show Choir Music Unlimited, Show Band, and stage crew hopped on a bus, to hop on a plane, to fly over a thousand miles south to Nashville Tennessee. In the weeks before we left, the whole group was bursting with excitement, organizing rooms, pre-packing, planning every outfit, and humming with a collective feeling that this trip would be incredible. 

After a sleepy flight and some suitcase bowling at the baggage claim, we all piled on a bus headed to the Opryland Resort. That first moment has stuck with me. As our big group wheeled luggage into the shiny lobby, I heard a rushing sound beneath our hushed whispers. The sound got louder as I walked toward the dark back opening of the lobby. The familiar smell of artificial water hung in the air, bringing me right back to fountains and amusement park rides. My jaw dropped. An entire town square, complete with stores and lampposts and bridges rose above a huge river, trees and foliage spurted from every corner, every window sill, framed every sidewalk, all under a massive glass ceiling that exposed the night sky. Giant glass stars hung from the ceiling and gleamed with a green glow. A whole city right here. We all froze in awe, knowing then, this trip wouldn’t be like any other we had ever experienced.

After navigating the endless maze of hallways, we spent an eventful night with our roommates and woke up bright and early for a meal at the restaurant that would evolve into the running gag of the trip. Yes, Cracker Barrel. Despite the smell of smoked meat and aggressively American decor, at the end of the day, we had fun in the gift shop and eating with our friends. 

The hotel itself was a cornerstone of the trip. We were free to explore the four enormous glass domes, each with their own themes, restaurants, attractions and fountains. We were surrounded by greenery, and it was all real, making the air crisp and fresh, the sound of chatter and laughter lingered like a massive mall. It was thrilling, this feeling of independence as we navigated with our friends, the indoor pool, the hundreds of restaurants, gift shops, ice cream and dessert places. For a majority of the trip we operated on our own schedule, we spent days talking, spending, laughing with our friends. Inevitably we got closer with people, friends we knew for years, friends we had just made. Just being in the hotel was transformative.

I couldn’t talk about the trip without talking about Friday night at the Wildhorse Saloon. When I heard we were line dancing, I was expecting some rustic barn with a backroom studio. But the night we walked into the saloon was another jaw-dropping moment. There was a huge floor for dancing and a concert-level stage with jumbotrons. Buffet-style food lined the surrounding tables, and the band was already blasting. A majestic eagle with the name “Miller Holler” branded on it projected in the background, as the stage shone with beams of colored light. The lead singer called himself Uncle Pat and he wore a sort-of-rock-and-roll outfit with a flare of country. The rest of the band looked right out of a music video too. Uncle Pat carried himself with such a cool rockstar persona we couldn’t help but be entranced. They played country songs like “Fishin in the Dark” and a ton of rock hits like “Free Bird,” “Dead or Alive,” and “Enter Sandman.” Before we knew it we were screaming the songs, jumping around, making dance circles and crowd surfing. The band took breaks and we learned some fun line dancing steps from instructors onstage. Going to the saloon was truly like an extraordinary concert with all of our closest friends. 

“It was just so much fun to be with a bunch of Show Choir people and to socialize with the other groups. The music was… insane, like it was so good. And it was just fun to… dress up like we’re going to a barbecue country line dance, it was awesome,” shared a Show Choir student. Another said, “Line dancing is like my calling… it was like the best night of my life.” 

But it was the people that made it a spectacular trip. ‘I hung out with a group of people who I haven’t hung out with before,’ said a Show Choir member, describing how she formed fast friends. The newfound sense of independence left us with a different outlook, a sense of choice, and a lot of us continue to find that same Nashville fun in our everyday lives.”

— Zoe Rodriguez

The competition itself often becomes the focus of the trip, and it’s important to know why Waltham went to Nashville in the first place. We came to have fun performing. That’s exactly what we did. The energy during our performance on Saturday was electric, the soloists brought the house down, and Music Unlimited’s months of hard work clearly paid off. Though we didn’t make finals, we were going against the top show choirs in the entire country, complete with the best choreographers, costumes, and budget enough to have colossal jumbotrons in their backgrounds. It’s a remarkable feat we were able to compete alongside these groups. One senior agreed, “Regardless, even if we didn’t win, I really enjoyed it. And seeing all the other groups was really cool, honestly.”

A true highlight of the trip for me and so many others was spending the entire Sunday at the SoundWaves waterpark within the resort. The waterpark featured a Flowrider surfing machine, pools, a lazy river, a super fast lazy river, and a combination of water slides for multiple people. Being in the gigantic park was like being a little kid again. Pulled weightlessly by the lazy river, voices hoarse from screaming down the slides, riding floaties, and splashing in the pool. “It was huge… There were so many things to do and it was really really really fun,” said one kid animatedly. “It was some of the most fun I’ve had in years,” confessed another student. It was all laughter, thrill, and a sense of carefree fun some of us haven’t experienced since childhood. 

Show Choir’s trip to Nashville was full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, anyone who went can attest to that. But it was the people that made it a spectacular trip. “I hung out with a group of people who I haven’t hung out with before,” said a Show Choir member, describing how she formed fast friends. The newfound sense of independence left us with a different outlook, a sense of choice, and a lot of us continue to find that same Nashville fun in our everyday lives. The whole thing wouldn’t have been possible without our directors Alyssa and Tom Cincotta, who are extremely dedicated and gave us a truly magical experience.