Band Wins Gold In DC


The WSHS band poses in front of the Lincoln Memorial during their field trip to Washington, DC in April.

Mikayla Kudron, A&E Editor

From April 26-April 28, the West Springfield High School band celebrated the end of a hardworking year with a trip to Washington, DC. Students in the band got the opportunity to explore the National History Museum, witness the changing of the guard at Arlington Cemetery, and even play for an audience in front of the Lincoln Memorial. The trip to the Nation’s capital was filled with fun memories, as well as unexpected challenges.

According to Inglyana Yard, a Junior in the WSHS band, performing in front of the Lincoln Memorial was the best part of the trip. “A lot of people there seemed to be really entertained, and loved what we had prepared,” Yard explained. Band director, Mr. Holesovsky, added that, “Hundreds of passers by stopped and took photos and videos of the band.  It was a once in a lifetime moment, a performance we are super proud of!”

The WSHS band performed a number of American classics in front of the memorial. Some of these songs included “Loui Loui” and a mashup of “God Bless America”, “America the Beautiful”, and other patriotic songs. However, one song performed was not like the others. Many students were dreading playing “All Star” by Smash Mouth. “Nobody wanted to play ‘All Star’,” commented Junior Rosemary Fontaine.

The WSHS band also performed during the Heritage Music Festival. During this competition, the band placed second in their division and won a gold for their concert band performance. Junior band member Debbie-Ann Holloway described their victory as her favorite part of the trip. “We were honestly just trying our best, since we aren’t used to big competitions like that,” she explained.

Another highlight of visiting Washington DC was witnessing the changing of the guard at Arlington Cemetery. Arlington Cemetery, also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, has been guarded 24 hours a day since 1948. The changing of the guard represents the end of one shift and the beginning of the next, and is performed through an elaborate ceremony meant to honor the unknown soldiers of World War One and everyone who lost their lives fighting for the United States. “It was a really amazing ceremony to witness,” said Fontaine.

In the midst of an incredible opportunity to learn about the country and perform for a large audience, there were many challenges as well. Cold, rainy weather and strong winds interfered with the band’s marching practice. Additionally, in the hotel where students, teachers, and chaperones were staying, a false fire alarm was pulled in the middle of the night. “Having to wake up at 1:00 AM due to a false fire alarm was pretty scary,” Fontaine explained, “especially if you’re half asleep and parents are yelling about a possible fire in the hotel.” Many students also wished they had more time to explore the National History Museum and other attractions of the nation’s capital.

Despite a few challenges, and because of the interesting activities planned, the WSHS band seems happy with their experience in DC. “Going to the nation’s capital is not something I believe a person should pass up,” Fontaine said. Luckily, this trip won’t be the last for the band. The WSHS band goes on an overnight trip every other school year. Mr. Holesovsky explained that the next trip is in the planning stages, but may take place in Cleveland, Ohio or Virginia Beach. Thanks to Mr. Holesovsky, the hard-working band members and chaperones, the band has been presented with an amazing opportunity to improve their performance and learn about the nation’s capital. Mr. Holesovsky expressed that he “couldn’t be happier with the outcome.”