Virginia Beach a great band trip destination! Maybe that isn’t the most common marketing slogan we come across for Virginia Beach, but it certainly is the truth. Just back from a great trip with the Ridgewood High School Band and Indoor Guard. We had a great hotel on the bay in Virginia Beach with great water views and a private beach. Can’t ask for more than that, can you? Sure you can – you can have days packed full with performances, clinics and tourist opportunities! Day 1 was all about getting the group down there and settled in the hotel.
Day 2 dawned bright and clear and we headed out to Colonial Williamsburg for the Concert Band and the Wind Ensemble to perform at Merchant’s Square. It was a bright and breezy and we had a nice crowd as they played. Including meeting two alums of Ridgewood from the 40’s and 50’s who just happened to be visiting Colonial Williamsburg as well. From there it was off to Busch Gardens for rides, rides and more rides! We did have a little bit of severe weather that caused us to leave a bit early but we did have a good time anyway. Safe and dry in the buses we headed for the 2014 International Tattoo presented by the Virginia Arts Council in Norfolk. The variety of military precision bands and drill teams was amazing to behold and the entire production was seamlessly put together and a great night of entertainment. Back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep before another full day of activities!
Day 3 we had another yummy breakfast before heading out to William and Mary for a clinic with Paul Bhasin. Not only is the campus just beautiful but the clinics were so inspiring and educational. From there it was a bit of time to tour Colonial Williamsburg and get some lunch, another beautiful day in Virginia! The jazz band and indoor guard headed to Tallwood High School in Virginia Beach while the rest of the group went to the Virginia Air and Space. John Toomey came to work with the two jazz bands and what a treat to watch such amazing artist and educator work with these kids. The guard had 90 minutes with Michael Johnson and then they did their routine for the rest of group when they arrived after visiting the air and space museum. They did a great job and really enjoyed their time with Michael. After a BBQ dinner out on by the Tallwood band parents, we loaded up the buses and headed over to the Town Center for performances by both of Ridgewood jazz bands and Tallwood’s jazz band. It was a great night of jazz and particularly special because the director from Tallwood is an alum from Ridgewood. So great to see the all of these music educators passing on their passion and talent to all these kids.
Day 4 was time to check out and head for the National Museum of the Marine Corps for all the small ensemble performances. Percussion, flute, sax and brass ensembles all had the opportunity to play in the beautiful atrium of this museum. Such a great space to hear these amazing groups resonate throughout the museum. The museum itself is beautifully laid out and it was a lovely performance and a great way to end the performance aspect of the trip. From there it was time to become an audience instead of the performers so off we went to hear the President’s Own Marine Band in Alexandria, VA. As expected it was a truly remarkable performance and a terrific way to end a busy and exhilarating trip!