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FHS band students head East

ABOVE: The Fairmont High School Marching Band is seen on Lake Avenue in Fairmont during the Interlaken Heritage Days Parade earlier this month. The band will be leaving for a trip next week.

FAIRMONT– On June 29 band students at Fairmont High School will embark on the first band trip since 2018. The trip will make stops in Boston, New York, and Washington.

Trips were originally planned in 2020 and in 2021, but were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the advice of parents working in healthcare, the band was able to cancel early enough to refund the trip in 2021.

“I felt so fortunate to have their feedback and their help in the decision making process. … I know other bands that lost everything and they ended up using a great bit of their COVID funds to reimburse their students and parents,” said band director Kate Kallenbach.

For nearly all students this will be the first time they would have an opportunity to participate in a band trip.

“I’m excited because I haven’t really travelled anywhere so this is my first big trip ever,” said Aiden Nelson.

Grace Miller said, “I was a senior this year so it’s my last hurrah with the band, so I’m very excited to have one big last trip with everybody.”

Trey Tumbleson pointed out that for a lot of the upperclassmen, this is their one chance to take a trip. He’s looking forward to hitting three big cities on the east coast.

Due to the prolonged gap between band trips, recent graduates were invited to travel with the band, but only one is able to go.

Because the a large portion of the jazz band is also in marching band, the trip will include a jazz performance for the first time in over ten years. Within the jazz band a handful of other students have formed a group called “Unlucky Cheeks” which will play an additional selection of pieces during intermission.

The band’s repertoire will include two unique pieces composed by Fairmont High School graduates. The first, Final Tigre, was arranged by Alex Chubaty and is a combination of El Tigre, a classic marching band tune and the Final Countdown, the popular rock song. While marching the band will rotate between Final Tigre and a series of drum cadences, one of which is played by Joe Driano.

After leaving at 4 a.m. on Wednesday, June 29 and spending nearly a full day on the road the band will arrive in Boston. There students will go on a guided tour of the Freedom Trail and visit other notable locations including the Massachusetts State House and Fenway Park.

After spending two days in Boston the band will head to New York City where the trip will make its first stop at Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“We’ve never been to Central Park in New York. … The kids are really excited to see that, you hear about Central Park and you see it all the time on TV, that’ll be great,” said Kallenbach.

Later they will attend a broadway production of the Lion King.

“We were afraid we weren’t going to see a Broadway and I always want to bring them to Broadway because we have such strong theater programs in our community,” said Kallenbach.

On Sunday morning the band will visit the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum where the jazz band will perform.

“We had to turn in a performance video for that to be accepted to do that. We’re going to go a little bit more casual for that one, we have trip shirts that say ‘Fairmont Band’ on them. While the jazz band plays the rest of the members of the group will watch them, and then we’ll get to explore the museum,” said Kallenbach.

After leaving the Intrepid the band will visit the September 11 Memorial before returning to Times Square.

On July 4th the band will be in New York City marching in one of the oldest 4th of July Parades in the United States.

“When you’re traveling over the 4th of July, all of these cities have their parades on the 4th of July. We were lucky enough to get into the Travis 4th of July Parade on Staten Island. It’s about 1.1 miles and we’ll do a stopped performance in front of the grandstands. I am just so excited for them to get that goosebump feeling and people are cheering because we traveled a thousand miles to play before them,” said Kallenbach.

After marching in the parade they will visit Rockefeller Plaza, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty before departing for Washington D.C.

Once the band arrives in Washington they will visit the Smithsonian, Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, and go on two guided tours of other memorials and monuments located in and around the district.

This tour was intended to be financially accessible for all students. Students are given fundraising opportunities and scholarships are given thanks to donors and the work of Band Boosters.

“We never say you can’t go because of you don’t have the money. All you have to do is ask for a scholarship,” said Kallenbach.

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