Band, choir pay tribute to Pearl Harbor with trip to Hawaii

VACATION PREPARATION: Rehearsing various pieces of music, sophomore Erin Kirby and senior Marc Turenne play the clarinet to help the band determine which to perform in Hawaii. The band holds special rehearsals in order to prepare for their performance.

Rachel Nwia

VACATION PREPARATION: Rehearsing various pieces of music, sophomore Erin Kirby and senior Marc Turenne play the clarinet to help the band determine which to perform in Hawaii. The band holds special rehearsals in order to prepare for their performance.

Josie Schneider, staff reporter

One hundred and eighty-seven band and choir members will be traveling to Hawaii for spring break starting on March 28, according to Greg Wojcik, band director and a supervisor of the trip. The students will perform concerts to memorialize the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

“The purpose of the trip this year [is that it’s] the 75th anniversary of the beginning of World War II, and it’s the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor,” Wojcik said. “So we’re going there for a commemoration of the day, and we’re going to play a concert at Pearl Harbor.”

The main concert will take place in the middle of the park with memorials surrounding Pearl Harbor, where the band will be playing strictly patriotic music, according to Wojcik.

Sophomore Mira-Cler Josaiah, first time traveler with the band, said, “It’s going to be a time of commemoration for everyone and just remembering what happened there, and [showing] respect for others who were a part of it.”

The students will be staying in the Pacific Beach Hotel, across the street from Waikiki Beach, according to Wojcik. He explains, apart from the musical itinerary which includes four concerts, the students will be snorkeling, shopping, spending down time at the beach and hiking on mountains like Diamond Head.

Josaiah said, “I am most excited for the nice weather, the peaceful days and just being able to play [our music] in a different environment. We’re always playing in a building or marching outside. It’ll be nice to just be on the sand, just relaxing.”

Though this trip is school-sponsored and school rules still apply, to students like senior Lauren Yep, four-year participant of South’s band, these trips do not seem like a homework assignment. Instead are just plain fun, according to Yep.

“[Previous school trips] seemed more like a vacation since everyone was with their friends,” Yep said. “Everyone was super hyped all the time, which was really cool.”

Yep says that the band will have clinics in Hawaii to improve their performance. She explains that they are similar to little workshops, where someone helps them to polish their music.

“Most places we go, we try to get something in there so that it’s a learning experience for everyone,” Yep said. “It’s a lot better if you go and learn something while you’re there.”

Due to Choir Director Martin Sirvatka retiring this year, this year will be the first time that members of the choir have the option to travel with band on one of their trips, according to Wojcik. Senior Tori Lothian, choir member, explains that because choir students are accompanying band members on this trip, she is looking forward to have that time to connect with them.

“I am really excited that we get to go on this trip with the band,” Lothian said. “Marching band is such an awesome activity because it is an inside and outside of school commitment. […] It is harder for the entire choir to become as close as the band is because for most people, choir only meets every Blue day. Therefore, I am looking forward to spending time with all of the choir kids who are going, because we rarely get to sing together outside of a school setting.”

According to the itinerary, upon the group’s arrival in Hawaii, the students will be welcomed with a “fresh flower lei greeting.”

“There’s this hula dance thing [the band directors] do every time [they visit Hawaii],” Josaiah said. “[The band directors] show us Hawaii, which is really cool, and the band directors get really into it. I have pictures from past years where they’re wearing their hula skirts and dancing around.”

For Lothian, there is a lot to expect with this vacation and even more to be excited about.

“I am looking forward to doing something I love in a beautiful setting,” Lothian said. “I truly believe I am my happiest when I’m on the beach, so I am excited to de-stress from all the realities of senior year and just enjoy the company of the awesome people around me.”

Although the trip is expected to be very fun, Wojcik describes a long preparation process, explaining that this trip will not be all pleasure as his main focus is the students’ safety and enjoyment.

“We have the GBSIL (GBS Instrumental League) behind us, which is the parent organization, and they’re very, very helpful,” Wojcik said. “[Preparing for this trip is] very time-consuming. You have to put the schedules together, you have to figure out who’s going on the trip, you have to get the music prepared, [and] you have to make sure everybody’s safe, [which is why] we have a nurse coming with us.”

The rules and regulations are explained to the students, according to Wojcik. But students have never lost sight of the purpose of the trip.

“I have never sent anybody home [for bad behavior], and I’m very proud of that,” Wojcik said. “Our kids are the best kids in the world.”

Lothian says that the location of the concert adds to the importance of their performance.

“We are singing at Pearl Harbor which should be an incredibly powerful performance, so I am definitely looking forward to that,” Lothian said.