From the School Board’s website: Durant High school’s Wind Ensemble lead by Bruce Herrmann went to New York City at the end of March, 2018. The decision to go to New York was a result of being accepted as a performing ensemble in the National Band and Orchestra Festival held at Carnegie Hall. Herrmann shares some details about this trip of a lifetime:

“Last spring, I submitted a recording of our Wind Ensemble to the National Band and Orchestra Festival and about a month later, I received an email notifying me of the band’s acceptance into the festival. Earning one of the performance spots at this festival a huge honor and is a direct result of the commitment and dedication each student in the Wind Ensemble puts forth.

The National Band and Orchestra Festival is a non-raking, adjudicated festival in which each performing ensemble receives comments on their performance. The adjudication panel is comprised of some of the nations most respected collegiate band directors both current and retired.

Our concert program was 37 minutes in length and featured a piece entitled, “A Hymn for the Lost and the Living” written by New York-based composer and Julliard professor, Eric Ewazen. The piece was written following the terrorist attacked on Sept. 11, 2001 to honor both the 2,996 people who lost their lives and their surviving family members. I chose this piece because of its obvious connection to where our kids were going to be. They were going to be walking the same streets that, on that day, were covered in ash and smoke. I wanted 9/11 to be more than just a historical moment that they have read about or heard about in class.

When I began the planning of our itinerary it became very clear that this trip was not just about performing in one of America’s greatest and most historic concert venues, it was also about giving my students the opportunity to see, feel, and touch as much history as possible. For some of my students, this might be their only chance to visit New York.

In total, 67 students were in attendance and, of those, 46 were the members of the Wind Ensemble. As expected given the location and venue of the students’ performance, a large number of parents also traveled with us. While in New York, we were privileged to visit the following locations: Top of Rockefeller Center, Liberty Island & Ellis Island, the United Nations, the 9/11 Museum and Memorial, Times Square, the American Museum of Natural History, Ellen’s Stardust Diner. We also had the fortunate opportunity to see Bernadette Peters star in “Hello Dolly” on Broadway. In their free time, students had the opportunity to tour the Julliard School, visit the Metropolitan Opera House and Lincoln Center.

It truly was a remarkable experience, one we will cherish and never forget.”