The St. Anthony Band from Wailuku, Hawai'i, recently returned from their tour to Washington, DC. Below are some highlights and a report from Everett Yamashita, the band's director, about this group's experience in our nation’s capital.
Aloha Shawn and the rest of the MCI Staff. We had an incredible time working with MCI, and our trip to Washington, D.C. was nothing but amazing!
Our Tour Managers, both Ed and Louise, were a pleasure to work with. They made the experience all worth it. They were very accommodating, very knowledgeable about the history in D.C., very polite and professional, and did EVERYTHING possible to make this trip very enjoyable and memorable. WE LOVED Ed and Louise!
Our participation in an audit of a United States Air Force Concert Band rehearsal was a great experience for our students. They loved it. Special thanks to the Air Force band for accommodating us. At first, we were told we would get in a solid hour at most, but we ended up staying there almost 3 hours! Our students got to see the Concert Band, Singers, and a small combo group. We would definitely want to do this again.
The performance at the World War II Memorial Ceremonial Plaza was such a beautiful location to have a concert. Although the fountains were loud, with the assistance of the PA crew, we managed to put together a very nice concert. And to perform there...wow...amazing! It was truly an honor!
Our performance for American Military Veterans at Grand Oaks was probably the biggest blessing for our band. We've done performances for veterans and retirees before, but at the end of our concert a gentleman came to the mic to give his heartfelt thanks to our students. It brought tears to everyone's eyes and really reminded us why we do what we do; to share music that we love to perform with others so they can love it too. It had me in tears.
Personal Highlight: I'm a history nerd and getting to see all the memorials was a dream for me. Visiting the Smithsonian’s was also a huge treat for us, particularly the American History museum. But overall, every day really just got better and better. It's really hard to pinpoint an exact highlight, but one thing was for sure....we didn't want to leave 🙂
As a band director traveling with over 50 students and over a dozen chaperones, planning the logistics for such a huge trip is overwhelming, especially since we were traveling all the way from Hawaii to Washington D.C. However throughout this entire experience, from planning to the actual performances, from having Ed and Louise, and from having such a knowledgeable staff helping to put things together for us...this trip turned out better than I had imagined. With all those involved, I didn't feel stressed at all on this trip, which is saying a lot since I stress for our local performances at malls.
The initial contact with Shawn was very welcoming and professional. I felt that MCI really understood our needs both musically and educational. As a teacher, I want to make sure an experience like this isn't just about "band" but about educating the student throughout every experience of the trip...and MCI did that for us.
Everett Yamashita, Band Director
St. Anthony Jr./Sr. High School