Bands, Beaches, and Butterbeer


Photo courtesy of Juliana Heptinstall.

Hadley Hagerty, Reporter

The band travels every two years, and this year, the band was led to warmer climates by their new director, Jessen Smith.  They went to the Kennedy Space Station, a Carnival Cruise to Nassau, Bahamas, and Universal Studios in Orlando.

“A lot of people were envious of me, getting to travel in my first year of teaching, but I had to work the whole time,” Smith said. “My main priorities were making sure everyone was where they needed to be, and making sure that they all had fun.”

The students’ work began before Smith was even hired. “Fundraising began last year, but people seemed to fundraise more this year since we knew what the trip was and who was going,” sophomore Emily Houston said.

The band rehearsed the pieces they would be playing throughout the trip.“Rehearsals were on Tuesdays after school until after the Holiday concert, after that we rehearsed in class until winter break,” Smith said.

When it was finally time to leave, the excitement had to be put on hold for the dreaded bus ride.

“People would not go to sleep. Ever,” senior Alex Keene said.

However, with the right outlook the long bus ride could be described as a little more than tolerable.

“The bus rides were actually one of the best parts, I got to talk and laugh with my friends, and people had to climb over seats to get the the bathroom,” Houston said.

The band’s first stop was in Cape Canaveral, Florida, to visit the Kennedy Space Station.

“It was really cold that day, but it was super interesting. We got to see different launch pads and rockets, and we learned about the Apollo Missions,” senior Julianna Heptinstall said.

Next stop was the Carnival Cruise which took the group to Nassau Bahamas.

“I got to see and swim in the ocean for the first time, which was really cool experience to have with my friends.” Houston said.

The students also got to explore the island.

“Everyone went in the Gucci store and cried because it was so expensive,” Keene said.

When it came time for the, performance the band formed an arc. “We drew a pretty sizeable crowd of locals and people from the cruise. The best part was when everyone was dancing and singing along to ‘Hey Baby,’” Smith said.

The band’s next performance took place on the cruise. This time seasickness began to take its toll on the group.

“The waves were really choppy that day and playing an instrument on top of that made some people sick.” Heptinstall said.

The cruise seemed to end on a positive note though, especially with the karaoke.

“I think I know what the students will say was there favorite part of the trip,” Smith said.

“Mr. Smith sang September by Earth, Wind, and Fire, we were all screaming because we were just so shocked at how good he was,” Keene said.

The last leg of the trip was Universal Studios. They group had the whole day to enjoy themselves. “Harry Potter is always the best,” Junior Jenny Park said.

Several Harry Potter fans were disappointed about the closing of the ride “The Dragon Challenge.” However, students were still able to get their adrenaline rush in with “The Hulk.”

Students also experienced adrenaline in some other unexpected ways. “In the line for King Kong, there were people dressed in costume that would jump out and scare you.” Keene said.

All in all, the trip was time of making music, bonding with friends and making unforgettable memories.  “It was a cool experience making connections and growing closer with each other all around the world,” Heptinstall said.