A trio of Cape High musicians has returned from a summer tour in Europe with American Music Abroad, appreciative of international culture and energized to perform in Delaware.
Seniors and twin brothers Darius and Adonest Weldon, and junior Kathryn Costello spent June 20 to July 10 touring, sightseeing and performing in locations throughout France, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium. Darius plays the trumpet, Adonest, the trombone, and Kathryn, the flute and violin.
Kathryn, who also plays piccolo for the Cape High marching band and performs in the after-school jazz band, was part of the tour’s concert band and string ensemble, splitting her time between both groups. The cast met in May for one rehearsal, she said, and she learned five songs with each ensemble.
Driving through the mountains of Europe was shocking, she said, noting many roads are old wagon trails, and the churches are massive cathedrals.
Overall, it was a great experience, Kathryn said, noting she became friends with fellow high school musicians from the Pennsylvania area who were also part of the cast.
The Weldon brothers said they saw mountains for the first time when the entire cast met at Kutztown University for three days of rehearsals and preparations before heading overseas.
Then, they were blown away by the glaciers and what they called “the real mountains” of Switzerland and Germany. Having a snowball fight in the middle of summer was a highlight, the brothers recalled, laughing.
They played at amazing places, Adonest said, like ancient churches and even once in a castle for a prince, who watched the performance from a balcony.
Darius said a lot of young kids in that part of Europe had never seen Black people before, noting they were intrigued and wanted to talk to him and his brother.
“They were not used to seeing a person of my color playing trumpet,” he said. “They were surprised I played the trumpet, and were asking me questions. I felt like a celebrity.”
European audiences loved the performances, which helped build their confidence, Adonest said. Once, it started raining during an outside performance in Switzerland, Darius said, and people started leaving their seats. He said he thought the audience was going home, but they returned with umbrellas.
“They still wanted to hear us play,” Adonest said. “I loved it. I loved every second of it.”
The food, even from fast food restaurants, was so much better over there, the brothers said, even simple dishes like spaghetti and ice cream. In Switzerland, they said, locals mixed fried onions and applesauce into their macaroni and cheese.
The brothers got to play tennis on a clay court for the first time, toured Mozart’s home, ate real Belgian waffles in Belgium and were astonished by the amount of people, including children, who smoked cigarettes.
Both Darius and Adonest said something music-related is definitely in their future.
“Getting paid to do something you love...” Adonest started to say.
“Is like getting paid to do nothing,” Darius finished.