BRISTOL, Connecticut, U.S.A. — Every year the Bristol Eastern High School band and chorus embark on an exciting field trip during April vacation. Students travel to a fantastic destination for three days, playing music and having a great time.
Band director Brian Kelly described the field trip as, “an educational, bonding, and performing experience.” Each music field trip combines all these aspects to give students a weekend adventure that they wait impatiently for all year.
No matter the destination, students say they have a great time every year.
Trumpet player Scott Garlick, a sophomore, is a big fan of the annual trip.
Last year’s journey to Niagara Falls, Canada and Toronto was “loads of fun and we all got the chance to go to many interesting places,” Garlick said.
The music department also recently traveled to Rhode Island.
“I have a good time every year, it brings the best parts of school on the road,” said junior Sarah Arnone, a clarinet player.
This year the group will spend the weekend performing — and enjoying themselves — in Boston. Although the activities during the trip are still up in the air, the announcement of the trip delighted students in the department.
During the trip, students perform at many schools.
“We perform for other schools who might not have as good a music department,” said Kelly. “Exceptional programs like we have here at Eastern are not the norm.”
Band president Mike Georgeon said the music field trips are a great experience for high school students.
“Music field trips are a great way for students to bond together and grow musically,” Georgeon said.
Each of the programs in the school’s music department has a moment to shine on each trip. The concert band, jazz band, chorus, madrigals, and Strawberry Fields singers showcase their talent on these trips yearly.
The music field trip is not all performances.
Students get a schedule loaded with activities, including stops at gift shops, restaurants, and attending special events.
Last year in Niagara Falls, students toured the Falls, watched the musical “The Lion King,” and ate a fancy dinner while watching a Medieval jousting tournament.
“The bonding the kids experience on the buses or in the hotel rooms brings them closer together after the trip,” Kelly said.
Even the students feel the music field trip is an important life experience.
“So much happens each year, we have a good time,” said Maureen Giblin, the band vice president.
Mishaps are just part of the trip, according to Giblin.
“Kids get sick,” Giblin said. “Midnight runs to the hospital are all part of the experience.”
Band and choral directors are now working hard to choose activities the music students will take part in on the trip to Boston.
Meanwhile, one detail lingers: money.
The trip costs close to $300 per pupil.
Besides practicing their scales and concert numbers, music students are working hard selling pies, chocolates, scarves, jackets, and flowers to raise money for the trip.
Sara Greene is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.