A little rain on the parade fails to cloud Music Department trip

Kelly Conner

Fran Cappetta and Jenny Park

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IMG_5759From Saturday, April 18th to Tuesday, April 21st, Upper St. Clair’s Marching Band and Pantheon Choir embarked on an annual music department trip; this year, the group drove thirteen hours to Boston, Massachusetts. This jam-packed trip offered both musical and historical endeavors, which provided a well-rounded experience for the USC students.

Extensive planning was essential for a trip of this size, and thankfully, Upper St. Clair parents and staff were extremely helpful in planning each day. Alongside teachers Mr. Don Pickell and Ms. Lorraine Milovac, there were parents who served as trip chairs.

Choral Trip Chair, Mrs. Maureen McDonough describes how she and others planned the trip: “In September, we start making plans on how we can fill these dates and how we’re going to get there, […] where will we eat, how will we facilitate that, and then what can we do with roughly 150 students […]. We packed those days full.”

The trip’s itinerary included scheduled events, such as a tour of Fenway Park, a singing performance inside the JFK Library and Museum, visits to Quincy Market, a walking tour of the Freedom Trail, a Blue Man Group performance, band and choir clinics at Harvard University, and a dinner cruise.

Although the trip was properly planned, the weather was an unexpected component. Because of rain and high winds, the Patriots’ Day Parade, an event in which the marching band was supposed to perform, was cancelled.

Senior Tom Maddigan, assistant drum major for the marching band, discussed the effects of the weather: “It was pretty disappointing to find out the parade was cancelled on our way to the parade. We had packed all our uniforms, ‘stuff bags,’ and instruments, and we were ready to go. We had practiced every Tuesday and Thursday for two hours each day.”

In reference to the clinics at Harvard, Mr. Don Pickell, band director and music curriculum leader, shared the interaction between the high school and college students: “I liked the fact that with the band, at least, we were able to talk to some of the students from Harvard, and they were able to talk about some of the opportunities that are in a college setting that aren’t necessarily for people who are going into becoming a professional musician.”

A big hit on the trip was the Blue Man Group performance at the Charles Playhouse. All the adults and students enjoyed this show, especially Mrs. McDonough: “A little bit later in the production, [the blue men] walked out and were sort of looking people in the eye and seeing who they might choose […]. The first gentleman looked at me, just stared in my face and kept walking and I thought, ‘Phew, dodged that bullet.’ And then he came back and reached out to me and took me up on stage. […] My heart was pounding!”

But above all, the quality time among classmates was the key. Allie Ryave, a sophomore and a Pantherette in the marching band, said, “My favorite part was on the last night, we have boat cruise. I mean the workshops were really fun and informational, but I really enjoyed spending time with my friends on the cruise and with a lot of seniors who are graduating.”

The long bus ride back to Pittsburgh provided time to reflect on all the ups and downs of the trip, and all the students will remember the four day excursion to one of the oldest cities in the U.S.

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A little rain on the parade fails to cloud Music Department trip