WFHS Band Brings Home Trophies and History Lessons from D.C.
by Nalini Raghavan Gore
In January, the West Feliciana High School Band brought home five first place trophies, history lessons, and countless unforgettable memories from their six-day journey to Washington D.C.
The band began planning this trip to the nation’s capital last year to attend a Brightspark competition festival at the University of Maryland. The festival involved competitive performance opportunities for West Feliciana and bands from six other states including Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Colorado, California, and Connecticut.
The band brought home five first place trophies in five categories: marching band, concert, band, jazz ensemble, percussion ensemble and flag team.
“It was gratifying for the kids because we worked extremely hard all year...It was good to show that all the hard work that we did [paid off]. And for some of them, to show them that Mr. Jones isn’t just crazy!” said Band Director Kelvin Jones.
Part of the itinerary for the trip included stops at four southeastern college campuses as well as a tour of the U.S. Capitol by one of Senator David Vitter’s staff. This was a favorite moment for band member Kameron Palmer, who wrote in an essay, “One of my favorite moments in D.C. was touring the U.S. Capitol. Being in a building that former presidents such as Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and John Kennedy [were in] is mind-blowing. Going into the other rooms, I could picture the former presidents and senators of the United States walking the halls. We even got the chance to see our state’s sculpture of ‘Kingfish’ Huey P. Long.”
Students also visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum and had the opportunity to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington Cemetery. As it happened, Jones and three Junior ROTC cadets performed the ceremony less than an hour after President Obama and Vice President Biden performed their own wreath laying ceremony. Students also visited the Lincoln Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
The final exciting component of the trip was the opportunity to witness, first hand, the presidential inauguration.
Band member Dale Honeycutt wrote, “It is nearly impossible to forget an experience like a trip to our nation’s capital. We all put in a lot of hard work to go, from fundraising or simply practicing our music for competition...I am truly grateful to see what every American has been given the freedom to see, and hope to go back someday.