Glen Rock takes the Metropolitan


Photo Credit: Phyllis Sneyers

Glen Rock students waited outside of the Metropolitan Opera House in mid-September.

by John Fiorino, Staff Writer

On a cool September morning, a few Glen Rock High School students traveled to the Metropolitan Opera to see a rehearsal of La Boheme.

Rent is based on La Boheme, a musical I am pretty familiar with,” Jack Whyte, a senior at Glen Rock High School said. “So I thought the story was great.”

On Thursday, Sept. 18, students chose to go to The Metropolitan Opera in Lincoln Center, New York, NY. The school group consisted of about 30 individuals; each was dressed-to-the-nines and ready to see the rehearsal of the play La Boheme.

The students could not, of course, go on this trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art unsupervised; choir teacher Carl Helder did his part in organizing the event as the Opera house has a very complex schedule, and people must book tickets in advance.

“In this case, we called in August,” Helder said.

Currently teaching his tenth year here at Glen Rock High School, Helder has taught Choir, Music Theory, and a new class, created this year, called Music Production.

“It’s a very different class. I’ve been getting great feedback from the students so far,” Helder said.  “They really seem to be enjoying the subject matter.”

The skill and talent level of the performers, musicians, artists, conductor, etc. at the MET is of the highest caliber in the world.

— Carl Helder, music teacher

Helder enjoys going on the trip with fellow colleagues, Phyllis Sneyers and Troy Kroft. However, the staff and student body shouldn’t be thanking just the music/arts department for this trip.

“Actually, Dr. Valenti had a contact at the Metropolitan Opera and approached us about student-interest in seeing rehearsals,” Helder said. “Mrs. Sneyers arranged for us to be included and have transportation to La Boheme.” 

This trip was initially offered to all students in choir, but it was later extended to anyone who showed interest in the vintage but famous play of La Boheme.

Unique to the performance of La Boheme is that the actors and orchestra have no microphones for audio support. To be even just an extra at the Metropolitan, an actor must not only be good at whatever skill s/he possesses but also comfortable in the ambiance found at the famous Opera House. When an actor is on the stage, there is no backup. It’s just the character and the play.

“The skill and talent level of the performers, musicians, artists, conductor, etc. at the MET is of the highest caliber in the world,” Helder said. “Seeing what happens at a rehearsal is a very educational experience for our student singers.”

Students also agree with the faculty that the performance and skill level was some of the best they’ve ever seen at a live performance.

“What stood out was their vocal talent and how clear it was these people have practiced all their lives” Whyte said.