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MWHS Musicians Explore the Big Easy

April 19, 2017 — The Mound Westonka High School Wind Ensemble and Concert Choir took part in a whirlwind educational and performance tour of New Orleans March 16-21. A packed itinerary included several performances by the two groups, along with lots of sightseeing. The students were thrilled to explore a city where music is such an integral part of its culture.

"This trip was an amazing experience," said junior Diana Hoernemann. "I loved visiting a new city and experiencing the culture of the people who live there. Not only that, but we got to share our love of music and, in turn, listen to the music of others."

Music Tour

Click the above image for more photos of the music tour

Both groups performed at Washington Artillery Park, across from the famous Jackson Square. The choir also participated in a private master class under the direction of Dr. Meg Frazier of Loyola University, while the band met with director Barry Spanier from Tulane University. An exchange concert at East Jefferson High School was the highlight of the trip for some of the musicians. The East Jefferson band marches in a Mardi Gras parade each year, led by an impressive drum line.

"As we got off the bus, the band lined up and performed for us," said Hoernemann. "In turn, they were impressed with our school’s strong musical talent."

"It was so cool to talk with the students from the other school and to hear about how they approached music in different ways," Hoernemann added.

Students and chaperones had the opportunity to experience Louisiana’s backcountry on a swamp tour, coming face-to-face with wildlife on the bayou. They also explored the Riverwalk, the French Quarter, the National WWII Museum, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and Jackson Square—including the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint and the Presbytere. They enjoyed dinner and live jazz at The Maison, an evening jazz cruise aboard the Steamboat Natchez and a New Orleans ghost tour.

"My favorite part of the trip was that music was everywhere," said senior Ailleene Mendoza. "I also liked how we got to do an exchange concert with a high school band; their numbers were small, but the sound quality was great!"

Sophomore Kristopher Kurtz really enjoyed the culture of New Orleans. "There is such a unique setting down there, with way different food, music and personality," Kurtz said. "It was the best part of the trip."

The MWHS Wind Ensemble and Concert Choir, the school’s top two auditioned groups, go on tour every other school year. The trip expenses are covered by student fundraising and the families of the participants.