Band Gets New Orleans Taste of Life, Music

Colleen Mortell, Staff Writer

Over spring break, the NDA Band bused down south to experience the unique culture of New Orleans.

“I had never been to New Orleans before. It was an amazing experience. Walking around the French Quarter and hearing all of the street bands, and taking a paddle boat trip on the Mississippi river and tasting all of the authentic New Orleans food were all great experiences,” senior Greg Davis said.

Band teacher, Mr. Bill Hill, planned the trip.

The “Band Aid” program did a lot fundraising. Whenever anyone bought concessions at a home football or basketball game, they helped to send the band down to New Orleans. Band students also sold Poinsettias and Cookie Dough in order to help get the cost of the trip to an acceptable level per student, Mr. Hill said.

“The culture in New Orleans was so fun to experience. It’s very musically oriented. There was always music playing everywhere we went, which was super cool!” senior Keri Salscheider said.

The Louisiana Philharmonic, an orchestra, performed a concert for the band on their first night there.

“It was unforgettable.  I would say for sure that it was the most memorable,” Davis stated.

The band had two performances, one of which was open to the public.  One performance was at Jackson Square, which is a big open space in the French Quarter that attracts a lot of tourists.

While performing “On Wisconsin,” some college students from Wisconsin recognized it instantly.

“My favorite part was the performance at Jackson Square.  People were running up to the band to take videos of them.  One guy came up with a lizard and a snake wrapped around him and started to dance,” Mr. Hill said.

The band also played at Loyola College and received instruction from an expert.  Band members said it was extremely informative and helpful to the band, especially the underclassmen.

The last spring break trip the band took was in 2012 to Saint Louis, Missouri.  The band and choir alternate trips every year, Mr. Hill said.

“New Orleans is a special place with a vibrant and unique culture,” Mr. Hill said.

Students say the trip to St. Louis was very enjoyable, but the culture was different than New Orleans.  Davis believes the deep south of New Orleans, combined with the importance of music, made it stand out from St. Louis.

“I didn’t get to go to St. Louis because I went to New York City with my mother instead, but in comparison to the choir trip, it seemed like we played a lot more in New Orleans and there were a lot more music opportunities there,” Salscheider said.

Davis and Salscheider agreed they did not have a least favorite part; however, they both wish they could have spent another day in New Orleans in order to have more time to experience the city.

Mr. Hill said he would like to take another band trip with students to Memphis and Nashville, both located in Tennessee.  However, no planning has begun.

“To any incoming freshman, I would highly recommend band. Some of the best friendships I have in high school came out of band, and you really learn the potential of music to move and inspire people. You also get one of the best teachers in the school in his best class, Mr. Bill Hill!” Davis said.

“I didn’t start band till my sophomore year and I really regret that I didn’t join earlier. I’ve met some of my best friends in the entire world in band and it’s made me an all around better musician. Plus, Mr. Hill is just so awesome. He really cares about the music and the student. He taught me how to love what I do,” Salscheider added.