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Weather, crowds don’t faze BEHS band, chorus in Virginia

WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia, U.S.A. — Two years ago, a departing senior at Bristol Eastern High School began his yearbook quote with, “Remember the band and trips…”

This year, the band and chorus embarked together on another concert tour in Virginia and made more memories.

This is the second consecutive year that the band and chorus have toured together rather than separately, implying four days of shuffling around about 150 high school musicians.

The group arrived in Williamsburg well past midnight, providing for limited sleeping time before being whisked away to an early-morning performance at the Wilsingham Academy, a
relatively small private Catholic school which does not have an instrumental music department itself, to the surprise of several Eastern students.

The apparent favorites of the Wilsingham students were the Strawberry Fields show choir and the Blue Jazz Band, whom many Wilsinghamites lingered to watch after they were supposed to
leave the auditorium.

Choral director Ken Ferris later received e-mail from the academy telling how impressed they were and welcoming the group back anytime.

From the academy, the music department bused to Colonial Williamsburg, where they spent the afternoon touring the historical site as the temperature climbed uncomfortably. The evening
had in store for the group a boat tour featuring a dance, despite cold pizza and an oft-dysfunctional sound system.

The following day was spent at the Busch Gardens Theme Park. Unfortunately, it rained throughout most of the day. Easterners battled the crowds generated by the opening of a new roller coaster
the previous day.

“I rode all the roller coasters at Busch Gardens,” said Ferris proudly. “I did really well on the ‘Loch Ness Monster.'”

The soaked students were then shuttled to a movie in the evening.

The following morning, following the established tradition, the Concert Choir sang at a local church. The Blue and Gray Jazz Band then played a performance at the Patrick Henry Mall.

Ferris mentioned that people who had attended the morning church service were so impressed that they turned out for the jazz band’s lunchtime performance.

From the mall, the group set off for Connecticut again. Arriving in Bristol, again close to midnight. Despite exhaustion, all students were told to attend in order to maintain the trip’s good reputation.

“I’m still trying to catch up on sleep,” said freshman Hayley Varhol, days after returning.

“Dipping Dots” should come to Bristol, said junior Melanie Grandy, in reference to a frozen beaded treat students found at the local mall where the Jazz Band performed.

“Musically, I thought the kids did really well, and did everything I expected,” said band director Richard Theriault.

Ferris added that Strawberry Fields did a “superb job,” the Concert Band played “exceptionally well,” and the jazz bands sounded “phenomenal.”

“We represented the school very well,” said Theriault.

Jessica Norton and Brian LaRue are Reporters for Youth Journalism International.

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