ETHS band changes course for trip, opting to visit New York City

Tarek Anthony, Staff Writer

Contrary to many prior trips to New Orleans, this year the Evanston Township High School Band is taking its musicians to New York City to participate in numerous tourist activities in addition to various musical workshops at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The roughly four and half day trip will depart from ETHS after school on Wednesday, Feb. 22, and will return before school on Monday, Feb. 27. Traveling via bus, the journey will take approximately 14 and a half hours of driving in addition to three one-hour breaks. 

Upon arrival in New York City on Feb. 24, members will immediately depart on a Staten Island Ferry Cruise, enjoying views of the New York skylines and the Statue of Liberty before being taken to Brookfield Place, a megamall in Manhattan where students will have the opportunity to enjoy shopping and dining. After lunch students will visit the 9/11 Memorial as well as Chinatown/Little Italy. This will culminate in a family-style meal consisting of various Chinese cuisines. Afterwards, the group will return to the hotel for the night around 8:30 p.m..  Students and staff will be provided two nighttime security guards within their hotel from the hours of 10:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m..

Day two will start with breakfast at the hotel before members depart for Rutgers University to participate in an hour-and-a-half band clinic with the Director of Bands at the university, Todd Nichols. After the clinic, students will be bused back to the city where they will eat lunch in Columbus Circle before breaking off into two separate groups, non-jazz band members and jazz band members. Non-jazz band members can walk around and explore New York City’s famous Central Park. Meanwhile, jazz band members will attend a second music clinic at Jazz at Lincoln Center, a concert hall. Once the two-hour clinic ends all members will reconvene in Times Square before attending a performance of the famous Broadway show Wicked at Gershwin Theater. 

“This is my first time in New York City in a long time,” said junior trombone player James ‘Eddie’ Green. “I am looking forward to the Rutgers Clinic and learning [from] professional musicians like Mr. Nichols, in addition to sightseeing in Times Square.”

Saturday will begin with an hour-and-a-half Broadway-themed band clinic for concert band members. In groups of 30, students will then get a tour of the famous Radio City Music hall and have the opportunity to meet and greet with their Rockette Dancers. Students will end the night with a three-hour dinner and dancing cruise.

The fourth and final day includes a trip to the Museum of Broadway and free time to further explore Times Square. Everyone will then gather for a pizza dinner before boarding the buses and making the trip back to ETHS. 

Buses are expected to arrive at school around 8:00 a.m. Monday morning. Students are expected to attend their regular Monday classes and will not be excused.

Over 130 band members are expected to attend the trip. To fund the excursion, students did extensive fundraising by selling flowers and other items to raise money for the trip. Nonetheless, costs reached up to $2,000 per student, with some financial aid provided to those in need. Students are additionally expected to fund a majority of their lunch costs and all other expenses regarding souvenirs and personal items needed while in the city. 

“Getting private band lessons from a Big Ten Band Director is a very unique opportunity,” said Green. “[This experience] is extremely helpful for pursuing a high level of music after high school. I am thrilled about the trip and can’t wait.”