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Band, orchestra students travel abroad

Hastings High School band and orchestra students who traveled abroad to perform over spring break are pictured here. Photo courtesy of beck photography

For 35 Hastings High School band and orchestra students, the spring break of 2014 was spent traveling and performing across France and Italy.

It didn’t, though, get off to a very good start. The group, numbering more than 40 people in all, had its flight from Chicago to Washington, D.C., cancelled. The group then scrambled to rebook flights to get across the Atlantic. One half of the group ending up flying into Brussels, Belgium. The other half flew into Amsterdam in the Netherlands. That group then took a train to Brussels and finally everyone was where they needed to be.

“We had an interesting beginning to the trip,” band teacher Jim Jacobsen said. “The students were just great. They just rolled with the punches.”

The group had to cancel its first performance in Arles, France, because of the travel hiccup. Luggage and instruments were still missing on the day that the concert was to be held.

They were still able to perform twice, though. They played once in the southeastern France community of Avignon outside the Palace of the Popes. The second performance was just outside Nice, France.

In addition to the 35 students, Jacobsen, band instructor Duane Oldham and orchestra instructor Andrea Scheuzger all went with. Four additional adults traveled with the group, too.

“We like to bring students to amazing destinations that they haven’t maybe been able to get to in their life and show them the world, just to open their eyes to see what is out there,” Jacobsen said. “They get to perform in the various places – beautiful churches and outdoor venues. It opens their eyes and broadens their scope.”

Many of the students conduct fundraisers to pay for the trip. Boosters help out, too.

“We’re really appreciative of the support of the school district and the community for allowing us to do this kind of trip,” Jacobsen said. “When we go, the student’s lives are changed. They get to experience the world.”

The trip for band and orchestra students is taken every two years.