I just got back from the Dartmouth Rockapellas first ever international tour to Nepal! Each year, around winter break, all the a cappella groups go on tour, usually to places like New England or the West Coast. However, one of our members proposed the idea of doing a benefit tour about two years ago. The past few years have been spent raising money in order to send our entire group to Nepal in support of the Nepal Foundation!
We left right after Thanksgiving and arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal on November 27th! From then on we had a jam packed schedule. We met the Nepali Scouts, a group of about eight high school and college age students who dance. At each of our performances around Kathmandu, they came with us to perform. We started out at a private school and ended our week at an old folks home (Pashupati) and an orphanage. Each concert was nothing like any other concert the Rocks have done before. The people were warm and welcoming and most groups thanked us with necklaces of marigolds, thank you notes, and bead necklaces. It was one of the first times I have experienced the universal power of music. The students and adults alike were thrilled to experience a little bit of American culture and the beautiful sounds we produced. One of the highlights of the week was playing a game of “I catch the ball” with the Nepali Scouts (a Nepalese game in English) and us teaching them the “Salty Dog Rag” (a dance we learn on First Year Trips).
After the week was up, we packed all of our gear into one backpack and started on a five day trek in the Himalayas! This was when our Dartmouth Outing Club skills were put to the test. We did a path on Annapurna called the Poon Hill trek. This was described as the “easiest trek, for beginners.” Ummmm yeah right. Because we started at the altitude of the highest peak in New England, we described our trek as quite the “strugglebus.” Although we all finishedand had some of the most spectacular views we have ever seen. We thought the Appalachian Mountains were beautiful…the Himalayas are without comparison.
This years tour was the adventure of a lifetime and I am so grateful to have done it with my closest friends at Dartmouth! I think that this is probably my most memorable tour to date and I can’t wait to be back performing with them again in the Spring!