The North Central High School band and choir returned recently from a weekend in New York to help the Big Apple celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
The 65-student troupe and chaperones ventured to New York to march in the big parade and sign at one of the oldest churches in town. In addition the group saw a Broadway show and several touristy spots.
The trip leader was Band Director Jason Luthy, who has been working on the trip for eight years. When he first came to Pioneer, the top priority was getting new uniforms.
“The band had not gone on a trip in years,” Luthy said. “(But) we had uniforms that were 25 years old.”
So his first four years at school were spent on raising money for the uniforms. Then the long road to New York City began with four years of fundraising, Luthy said.
“I wanted all the kids to go,” Luthy said, “It had to be planned carefully.”
After a lot of long hours fundraising, improving the quality of the band, Luthy sent in a tape that served as an audition. Parade officials only accept the best bands to be in the parade, he said.
“They can’t accept all bands,” Luthy said. “It’s a very long parade.”
The parade lasted from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and when the band got there, they waited for their turn, performed and went on to other attractions, he said.
“We showed up an hour before our time,” Luthy said. “We performed a medley of Irish tunes.”
The tour saw “Aladdin” that night, he said.
In New York City, the tour group had a walking tour of Manhattan, took the Staten Island Ferry, entered the city and cruised past the Statue of Liberty.
The group saw Times Square and then to observation decks at the Rockefeller Tower on the 67th and 69th floors. The group was there at 8 p.m. and got to see the metropolis light up after dark.
The group also visited the 9/11 memorial at the site of the former World Trade Center. The group got to see a Pear tree that survived when the towers fell. The group also visited St. Paul’s Episcopal Church where rescue operations were staged following the attack, Luthy said. “It was a good thing for the kids to see,” Luthy said. “Sept. 11 happened when they were young.”
As for the future, Luthy is hopeful the district will support a trip like this every four years. This way every student will be able to go once in high school, he said.