As many of you may know, the Casady Orchestra, Concert Band, and Choir traveled to Ireland over spring break. To find out about the educational experiences provided to students, the overall bonds formed, and more, I talked to music directors Jamee Hale and Jana Heidebrecht.
Hale believes these excursions are not only exciting,but serve an educational message:“I think that international performances are important because of the life experience and memories that they create. I hope that for the rest of their lives students will remember what it was like to perform at a church or venue abroad. Especially when we get the opportunity to perform somewhere with a long and interesting history.” For Heidebrecht, this trip holds a special importance because “music has no boundaries, connects us all” and “builds bridges.”
With so many kids traveling across the Atlantic, Heidebrecht said: “It was great to witness the camaraderie of the band, choir, & orchestra students together. Everyone looked out for one another, and were so excited to be together. I’m so thankful that we performed and traveled together.” Hale also spoke about the unique number of performers this year, saying it was“overwhelming at times,” but “being able to share the experience with so many students was very special.” Additionally, she believed having the opportunity to perform pieces that had choir, band, and strings together was “unique for the local Ireland audience.”
Teacher-student bonds were strengthened by this lengthy trip, so I was curious as to how how each woman’s relationship with her students grew. Heidebrecht shares, “The trip created memories that will be imprinted for life. We will all remember our time in Ireland. I know that anytime I will hear of Ireland or sheep, I will think of this group of students. The music we shared. The activities we did together.” Hale also told of the inside jokes and parental-like bonds that were formed, such as the inside joke: “Remember that orange juice on the plane? What was with all that pulp?”, which is complete nonsense to anyone who was not on that trip. Hale hopes that “these experiences and connections also allow the group to grow together musically,” and that it also “builds trust” between students and teachers.
This trip will not only be a highlight of this year, but of each student’s entire high school career. It was a thrilling, amazing, and beyond memorable journey for all involved, and will be something shared for years to come.