Band students had great time in the Maritimes

After anticipating our band trip to the Maritimes for almost a year, I can’t believe the 10 days have come and gone.
Recollecting on each event, I realize this trip was not only a time for cultural experiences and educational opportunities but also a time for building friendships and co-operation.
“You [got] to know everyone better,” said Heather Keeler.
“It’s like [the band] became one big family,” echoed Emily Gibb, although admitting there were a few disputes between band members.
“Everyone got a bit cranky and tired near the end of the trip but I think it brought us closer together,” agreed Angela Barron.
We also became closer through the co-operation that was expected of us at each concert we played. From setting up and taking down equipment to actually playing the music.
“The band played very well and I think they were received well by the audiences,” director John Dutton said. “They focused when they needed to. I was quite proud of them.”
On our way east, we stopped overnight in Quebec City for a bit of sightseeing. We were able to explore the city in small groups and experience night life in the Old City.
It was interesting seeing the small boutiques, shops, and French cafés lining the streets and being among the French-speaking citizens.
While in Quebec, we also visited the Chateau Frontenac and the Plains of Abraham.
Our second stop was in Saint John, N.B., where we spent two nights and played two concerts. We also were able to visit Magnetic Hill, Reversing Falls, and Market Square.
Magnetic Hill was really cool, and I can see why it is Canada’s third-highest attended natural tourist attraction (behind Niagara Falls and the Rockies).
The bus driver drove our bus down the hill, shut off the motor, and magically our bus was pulled right back up the hill!
Many people believe it is an optical illusion but is it? People say you have to pedal a bike down the hill and coast up and that you actually see water run up the hill.
Weird, hey?
Reversing Falls also is a natural force, which flows backwards when the tide rises. Unfortunately, the tide was going out when we visited so we weren’t able to see it flowing backwards.
As we continued east, we crossed into Nova Scotia. Just to say we were there, we all got our pictures taken by a “Welcome to Nova Scotia” sign.
Before we were able to reach our destination, Prince Edward Island, we had to cross Confederation Bridge–a 13-km span over the Northumberland Strait that links Canada’s smallest province to New Brunswick.
It was an absolutely beautiful view!
We were lucky to have wonderful, warm weather during our stay in the Maritimes, which is uncommon for this time of year. As such, we were able to visit Green Gables, a very popular site in P.E.I., and West Cavendish Beach.
Many members of the band spent a long time wandering the beach, wading in the ocean, and collecting seashells.
Behind our hotel in P.E.I was a small bay off the ocean. The water was a bit warmer here and many people went swimming and digging in the red sand.
There also was the chance to experience some real seafood, which many people did, and observe the pastimes of teenagers in P.E.I.
They will cruise around in their cars, honking their horns, and then park by the side of the road and watch everyone else. It was kind of interesting!
We had a lot of time to explore or relax in P.E.I. and many people finished up their souvenir shopping.
While in Summerside, P.E.I., we played one concert, then we travelled to Charlottetown to play one, and the next day we played two in Alberton, P.E.I.
We played for a variety of audiences while on our tour. At Rothsay High School in New Brunswick, the kids were quiet, attentive, and polite those at Simonds High School were wildly enthusiastic.
Playing our concert in Charlottetown was quite an experience because we played on the front steps of the Confederation Centre of the Arts. We played around noon so we caught the attention of many people as they headed to lunch.
We had lots of fun on the east coast but before we knew it, it was time to head home.
We spent two nights on the bus on the way home, and stopped for one night in Ottawa. There, we all visited the Aviation Museum, and in small groups the National Art Gallery of Canada, the Parliament Buildings, Byward Market, and Rideau Shopping Centre.
We had our final group dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe in Ottawa. All of us band members chipped in and bought Mr. Dutton a Hard Rock Cafe jacket, which he was really surprised with.
Shortly after that, we reached home–with all our souvenirs, stories, and new friendships.
“It was an awesome experience!” stressed Kerri Langtry, noting she enjoyed eating seafood and digging in the ocean for oysters and clams.
“I had a really good time,” echoed Kelly Badiuk, one of the chaperones. “The kids were really good.”
Future plans for the senior band include cutting a CD in the next few weeks, playing for graduation, playing in the Canada Day parade, and fundraising for their trip to Europe in 2001.