February in New England can be a dreary time for high school students. Post-midterm school work is kicking back into full swing, while the frigid temperatures make the outdoors an unbearably cold place. Luckily for HBHS students, the end of the month also brings the prospect of the heavily-anticipated winter break. During the last week of February, some of the HBHS choir and band students left this gloomy, winter weather behind and traveled somewhere a bit brighter with their peers: Disney World.
Although 50 HBHS band and choir students attended, the trip to Disney was not exclusive to HBHS. More than 100 additional choir and band students from Souhegan and Milford High School traveled and performed with HB students.
Not only did the group perform at Disney Springs, but they also worked on improving their craft. “Choir and band are performing at different times, but we’re also doing clinics which means [the students] will have a couple of hours working with professionals for both groups,” said David Umstead, head of the music department at HBHS.
According to Umstead, the Disney trip was a couple years in the making. “I’m friends with the band directors and with the music directors with those two schools…The timing [for a group trip] finally worked out and next thing you know, we started getting serious about planning the trip,” said Umstead.
Over the summer, Umstead and the music directors from Milford and Souhegan decided on the pieces that the groups would perform. Then, throughout the year, the three schools have incorporated these chosen songs into their concerts so that the students could learn them. “Both band and choir have been rehearsing the music for most of the year, so we are pretty prepared,” said Katie Hinchliffe ‘19, a member of HB’s Honors Jazz Band.
“The expectations are higher [in class] because we are higher level players, but we like to have fun. It’s a small family pretty much…I think the trip will be good because we all like to spend time together,” said Michael Moscatelli ‘19, a member of Honors Jazz Band. He expects that the trip will not only be educational, but also a great bonding experience, as the attending HB students are a close-knit community inside and out of school.
Umstead finds that group trips are usually a great cultural experience, but also work in strengthening the bonds within the music department. “Our concert band doesn’t even meet together. We’re in different classes, so we need things like this to unify our group,” he said.
The students and chaperoning staff from all three schools left on Thursday, Feb. 21 and returned on Tuesday, Feb. 26.