Guerrero cancels Bel Canto tour

By Jamie Kim

If things had gone as Choir Director Rodger Guerrero had planned, Bel Canto would have spent Presidents’ Day weekend singing in the capitol dome.

Every year, Guerrero struggles to find enough participation to allow for the pseudo-annual choir trip.

The purpose of a choir tour is “to take students out of the H-W environment, to give them contact with professional university educators to see what they might like to do when they go away, and to hear other choirs sing music,” Guerrero said.

During the summer, Guerrero planned for this year’s Bel Canto to tour in Sacramento.

“The idea of the trip this year was centered around being invited to sing at the capitol in Sacramento. That’s not something that just happens,” he said.

But when he asked for sign-ups weeks ago, only 16 out of the 41 Bel Canto singers expressed interest.

“If there had been about seven or eight more girls we could have had balance in the sections,” he said. Guerrero was forced to cancel the trip.

Guerrero says finding adequate participation is less of an issue when the tour is scheduled for spring break instead of the three-day Presidents’ Day weekend.

“Because these trips are optional, it has always depended upon whether the students’ schedules meshed,” Guerrero said. “In this case, we have so many girls involved in [other activities]. There were other concerns – can I miss two days of school at Harvard-Westlake?”

In the past, the singers have done choral exchanges with other high school programs or universities, clinical workshops with famous directors, sung in professional venues and attended concertss and ballets.