Friday, April 7, 2017

MWHS Wind Ensemble & Concert Choir Tour visits New Orleans!

Today's post is from junior Diana Hoernemann

This past Monday, I came back from spring break and I could tell who had taken a trip to somewhere warm and sunny. However, my spring break trip was a little early this year. The week before break, I had the opportunity to travel to New Orleans as a part of Wind Ensemble. I traveled with other members of the top band and choir at MWHS. I had been down South before, but this was my first time visiting New Orleans, so I was excited.
Now, I can’t write about our trip without mentioning that we took 2 coach buses (unofficially known as the “loud” and “quiet” buses) down south with nearly 100 people. Since we drove through the night both there and back, there was little chance for a good night’s sleep on the 22 hour ride. However, we still had fun with card games, bus-wide music and attempts at homework to keep ourselves busy.

The next few days we explored New Orleans and the bayou. One highlight was going on a swamp tour. A guide took us on a boat through the swamp, and we saw wildlife such as alligators, bald eagles, and herons. We even had the chance to hold a baby alligator; something you can’t do everyday in Minnesota.

In addition to its unique wildlife, New Orleans is a city like no other. I’ve never been to a city where you can walk down the street and see numerous live bands playing and people dancing. On the first full day in the city, my small group was finishing dinner, when outside the restaurant a parade went by. They were throwing out beads and flowers to the people lining the street like a classic New Orleans parade. It was so much fun to be in such a lively city. Even when we visited the U.S Mint Museum, we danced to the music of a local band, the Pinettes. We also spent time shopping in Jackson Square and the French Market, as well as strolling through the Aquarium of the Americas.

One of my favorite parts of this trip was our riverboat cruise on the Steamboat Natchez. The steam calliope (an organ-like instrument) that played before departure was terribly out of tune, but the quality of the cajun-style dinner alone made up for it. After dinner, we roamed about the boat and took pictures as we cruised down the Mississippi. Music on the boat was provided by another live band, so the evening was full of jazz music and dancing.

As this was a music tour, I saved the best for last. Both the band and the choir performed three times each this trip. We played near Jackson square and in a master class conducted by a university professor. The coolest performance was an exchange concert with a local high school band from East Jefferson High School. Their band marches in Mardi Gra each year, and their strength was in their impressive drumline. As we got off the bus, they lined up and performed for us. In turn, they were impressed with our band and choir’s strong musical talent. It was so cool to talk with the students from the other school and to hear about how they approached music in different ways.

This trip was an amazing experience. I loved visiting a new city and experiencing the culture of the people who live there. Not only that, but we got to share our love of music, and in turn listen to the music of others. This trip opened my eyes to new things and I enjoyed every minute of it. Since this was my last tour, I’m glad I got to explore a city where music is an integral part of its culture.

Collaboration with East Jefferson High School

22 hours on the bus!
Riverboat cruise on the Steamboat Natchez

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