Notes, notes and more notes..

All City is orchestra and choral music, chamber, jazz and concert band. Any way music is written, these kids can play it, and some of them improvise too.

Here is a Medley of Thanks written by the musicians. It’s an arrangement of brief excerpts quoted from some of the thank you notes All City students wrote to the generous donors who made this trip possible. Needless to say, the words “thank you” appeared many, many times–as well as ‘Italy’ ‘pasta’ ‘pizza’ and ‘gelato’… of course.

Here are some of the other highlights:

“This tour has been life changing. We experienced the vivid and colorful culture of Italy and its people, and I learned new things that have helped me grow as a musician and a person.  This was my first year being part of the All City Orchestra and this trip has just added to the many reasons why I cannot wait to come back next year. Music and my music education are very important to me and everyone else in this orchestra, and I’m glad that it is important to you too.”

Eype John, Principal Bass Central High School, Class of 2016


“I am more than thankful… This was such a great experience for us all… The trip meant so much to me. Still thinking of it now, I can’t believe something this great was planned and paid for, for the entire all city orchestra. This was such a blessing… This was the first time I ever performed in a concert outside, let alone in another country. Seeing so many people gather around and appreciate our music was heart filling. Being a part of this was more than pleasing and made me feel important.

“It was exciting to play the Liberty Bell March, and have the large crowd clapping along with our dramatic dynamics. We also got a chance to walk around in the cities and explore the different stores, food, clothes, and people. We got to interact with people from a different country. This trip was so much fun. I wish everyone had a chance to do this because it definitely was a life changing experience for others and myself. I’m sure.”

Aijee Evans-Hockaday, Cellist ~ Philadelphia High School of the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA), Class of 2017

… The Italy tour was my first trip to Europe, and I can say after witnessing all the beautiful sights in Italy, it certainly won’t be my last! At our church concerts, I would always be amazed at how the walls of the church reverberated the sound so much… The trip was fantastic and a great learning experience about how music can change people’s lives… There were people at the last concert in Florence who had heard us previously and came to hear us play the same exact songs. AGAIN.

Haoxuan (Howard) Yuan , First Violin ~ Central High School, Class of 2016

The All City Orchestra brings together students from all Philadelphia public schools… People I never would have thought about after our concert in March became really good friends during the Italy trip. The trip to Italy threw individuals together,and—with practice and hard work—turned us into a single, tight knit, supportive and great sounding music-making unit.

The sightseeing was, of course, incredible, but what was so special about this trip was the experience of being part of a concert tour, like a real professional musician. This trip has convinced me to minor in music at college and to search for musical groups that I can be a part of in my new environment.

The audiences in Italy were the best – enthusiastic and responsive. They would clap, stand, and always asked for encores. The locations for our concerts were stunning… Being able to spread music to people in this way was a new and great feeling for me.

Cordelia Ilton, First Violin ~ Masterman High School, Class of 2015

“… I was able to feel what it was like to be a traveling musician, and to experience the warm energy of Italian audiences. Spending this concentrated time with the other musicians allowed me to build connections that wouldn’t have been possible during our regular All-City season. I strengthened my bonds with old friends and delightedly created new bonds with kids I never talked to before and otherwise would not have. The opportunity to play in chamber groups exposed me to a different type of performance and the fact that we played so many concerts in a short period of time enabled me to really prefect the repertoire.

“It’s hard to express how meaningful a difference you made in all of our lives… You turned music into an opportunity for anyone that was willing to put in the effort, regardless of financial status. For that I commend you… With thunderous applause and a well deserved standing ovation… Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Dotan Yarden, Principal Bassoon ~ Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA), Class of 2017






This and over 40 previous posts tell the story of the All City Italy Tour 2015, from preparations to performances, from anticipation to reflections after returning home. Originally posted at:, they are all available on this blog site for you to read, comment and share.