On February 7, 2020, members of the RHS Band program departed for the California trip. This trip had taken months and years of dedicated preparation, but it would all pay off. Immediately after school on Friday, band members, directors, and chaperones took their bags to Newark Airport to fly to the Golden State. The first day was mostly filled with luggage, flights and room assignments, but the following days would prove to be more exciting- packed even.
Saturday, February 8, 2020: After breakfast, the Winter Guard performed at Bellflower High School. The group then headed over to Santa Monica Pier where everyone had free time to explore. Luckily, the weather held up and everyone was able to enjoy themselves. There, at the pier, the Small Ensembles had their concert. Everyone then headed to the University of Southern California (USC) for a campus tour before dinner which was held at Buca di Beppo. The group wrapped up the night with the Cirque du Soleil “VOLTA” performance at the Dodger Stadium.
Sunday, February 9, 2020: The band started this busy day at 6:30. At roughly 8:00, members of the Winter Guard walked to Downey High School for their clinic while the rest of the group took a bus to California Adventure. Unfortunately, the Wind Ensemble could not have its performance on the Hollywood Backlot Stage as the rain prohibited them from doing so. After lunch, the Symphonic and Concert Bands headed to the Downtown Disney Recording Studio for their soundtrack session. The rest of the day was filled with fun and nostalgia as the students were allowed to enjoy themselves at “the happiest place on Earth”, despite the poor weather. The day concluded in a bang with a fireworks show.
Monday, February 10, 2020: The new day saw the band back at California Adventure. This time, it was the Symphonic Band’s turn to perform on the Hollywood Backlot Stage and the Wind Ensemble’s to have a soundtrack session. Once everyone had eaten and the Winter Guard was dropped off at the Millenium Dance complex, all the members of the band headed for their clinic with composer Sean O’Loughlin.
Tuesday, February 11, 2020: This day would be filled with glam as the group started with a step-on tour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Just before noon, the band was provided a tour of Sony Studios, after which the Jazz Bands separates from the rest of the group. These students took a bus to Catalina Jazz Club for a clinic with Dan Fornero, a famous trumpet player. The groups then performed alongside him at the jazz club where the group had their dinner. That night, when everyone returned to their hotel rooms, they were instructed to pack their bags as they would be leaving the next morning.
This trip was filled with amazing events and countless opportunities. All the time and money that went into it was definitely worth it. Of course, such a great experience always has a price. According to Benji Moon, a sophomore and member of the Concert Band, “although the trip was extremely exciting, the process of catching up on our work will prove to be quite the challenge for everyone”. The students who went to California had to miss three days of school, though some may see that as an additional benefit.
Graphic: Seung hee Rhew