USA Cornish Festival

Last week 13 students from MBA along with Mr Rodgers and Miss Osborne travelled to Mineral Point, Wisconsin, USA. We had been invited to perform and participate in the annual Cornish Festival held in the town. During the 1800’s many Cornish miners took their technology and mining skills all around the world including the USA. Mineral Point, as the name suggests, was a site of rich ores and a place that the Cornish helped to found. It is now known as officially the most Cornish Town in the entire US.
After 24 hours of travel (from Penzance to London and then to Chicago and Mineral Point) we arrived. Each of the group was hosted by an American family. The students were also paired up with an American student who took them on a tour of Mineral Point High School and then to experience lessons. The American education system is significantly different to the UK and all the students found it a valuable and interesting experience. The group also had a tour of the town.
On the Friday we went to the Mineral Point Opera House. The Opera House was the venue for our performance. It is a wonderfully restored old theatre which seats 380 people. After a morning of rehearsing the students then perfumed their variety show to the entire Mineral Point Middle School and High School. The Opera House was full and many people had to stand. It was clearly a big deal to perform to nearly 400 people, most of whom are your peers but the students did a wonderful job and everyone really enjoyed the show.
That evening the students went with their American friends to a High School (American) Football game. Sports are very well supported in America and nearly 300 people travelled to cheer on the High School team. The students loved it!
Saturday was the day of the festival. We rehearsed again in the morning and then went around the town to participate in the festival. There was “A Taste of Mineral Point” at which local restaurants and cafes made their food, a pop up museum detailing the Cornish heritage of the town, groups telling stories, musicians playing traditional music and much more. Many visitors from across Wisconsin as well as other states were there and all enjoyed meeting real Cornish students and describing their own Cornish ancestry.
In the afternoon the students put on their show. If Friday’s performance was good, this performance was excellent. The students really stepped it up and were fantastic. The variety show consisted of music, drama, stories, poetry and videos. Afterwards the students met the audience who passed on their appreciation and enjoyment of the show. Everyone was grateful that we had come to take part in the festival and thought the show was amazing. The students should be very proud of themselves, they did a wonderful job. That evening we went to a performance of Camelot.
On the Sunday we had the chance to do some shopping. We visited Target, a mall and the Madison, the State Capital. Collectively we probably boosted the local economy quite significantly.
On the Monday the students spent some time in the High School with their friends in lessons. We then visited The House on the Rock. This local attraction is famous across America and is the most bizarre and fantastic place one could ever visit. That evening the students went to a High School volleyball game.
On our last day we left Mineral Point early to visit Chicago. We walked down Michigan Avenue (the Magic Mile), saw the skyline of enormous skyscrapers (The Sear’s Tower, Trump Tower etc) walked around the Club Gate sculpture and had Chicago Town Deep Pan Pizza in Gino’s East restaurant. The pizza was incredible.
It was an amazing week and a super trip. The students were fantastic and without exception had an brilliant time. None of them wanted to leave and all want to go back! A very special thank you must go to Miss Osborne who worked very hard with the students to put the variety show together. One lady remarked that it takes a special person to give so much confidence to students for such big performances.
The group in charge of the Cornish Festival have asked us to return in 2020 to put on another show so if you would like to visit Mineral Point, perform at the festival and have a wonderful time please let Mr Rodgers know.
Report by Mr Rodgers