Students in Bishop Hendricken High School’s band and chorus escaped the winter cold over the weekend and headed to Hawaii for a seven-day performance tour.
The students and their chaperones will visit Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, Honolulu and Waikiki during their weeklong trip, which includes a total of five performances. While the program has had the opportunity to take part in performance trips overseas in countries like Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy, this will be the first time the group has traveled within the United States in this way.
In addition to performing at a mass at Damien High School and Church of St. Peter and Paul, and participating in a music-training program with faculty from the University of Hawaii, the students will have the unique opportunity to perform twice for servicemen and women. The first performance will be at Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Missouri, followed by an evening concert at Hale Koa Atrium for both active military and veterans visiting Hawaii.
“That’s going to be powerful,” said Ryan Cox, a senior in the band and chorus, of performing patriotic songs at Pearl Harbor. “I have family and friends that are veterans so that will be a powerful moment.”
Junior Peter Mancuso agreed.
“It’s one of those things. It is such a historic place,” he said.
The chorus and band came together for the first time to practice their joint numbers last Wednesday, only two days before leaving for Hawaii. They will come together for a special Armed Forces medley of patriotic songs and a performance of the national anthem.
That is the song Cox is most looking forward to performing, especially during the concerts for veterans and members of the Armed Forces.
“It won’t hit us until we’re there,” he said.
Mancuso was excited about performing a number of their songs, which include “Sweet Caroline,” “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Pretty Woman,” but his favorite song is “O Happy Day” because of it’s upbeat tempo.
Even with five performances to prepare for, the students will still have time to enjoy all that Hawaii has to offer. Over the course of their stay they will be able to enjoy a catamaran cruise, hike up Diamond Head, attend a traditional Hawaiian luau, tour Pearl Harbor, and a sunset dinner cruise out of Honolulu Harbor.
While Cox could not wait to get going, Mancuso admits he has been trying not to think about the trip.
“I’ve been putting off thinking about it,” said Mancuso, admitting he hasn’t even looked at the trip itinerary. “I’m excited to wake up and see what we’re doing each day.”
“I can’t wait,” said Cox.
Performing and taking part in the various activities Hawaii is known for are going to be a great experience; these boys just couldn’t wait for the weather, checking the forecast on their phones.
“I think hitting the beach in February will be nice,” said Cox, pointing out that escaping the freezing cold to 80-degree weather will be fun.
Mancuso was also just looking forward to seeing Hawaii and experiencing a new place, especially during a group scavenger hunt that is planned.
“We’re so far away. It’s the United States but it feels like a foreign country,” added Mancuso.
The boys and their chaperones will return early Saturday morning with just enough time to get over their jet lag before school on Monday.