Thirty-six members of the Delavan-Darien High School Orchestra participated in a performance, culture and history tour of New Orleans, Louisiana.
The April 9-13 trip to one of America’s most musical cities was packed chock full of activities.
After their arrival, the students cruised the Mississippi River on a steam-powered paddlewheel boat while listening to the “Dukes of Dixieland.
On April 10, students participated in a music workshop at Loyola University with noted conductor and educator Jean Montès, Ph.D. Montes is the director of orchestral studies and coordinator of strings at Loyola University – New Orleans. There, he conducts orchestral ensembles and teaches conducting and string pedagogy courses for music education majors.
An accomplished conductor, educator, clinician, lecturer, and performer, he is passionate about challenging and stimulating audiences and musicians alike. In addition to his responsibilities at Loyola University, Montès is the Artistic Director of The Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestras (GNOYO) where he conducts the Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Montès is very connected to his place of birth, Haiti, but was also thrilled to work with students from Wisconsin. He lived and taught in the Appleton area for a number of years. That is also where he met his wife.
After the workshop, the students ate lunch a local favorite seafood restaurant for catfish, jambalaya and bread pudding. They then toured the beautiful Oak Alley Plantation and performed concert there for the many visitors and tourists.
“It was exciting to perform “Ashokan Farewell”, a piece written for a miniseries about the Civil War set at a Southern Plantation,” said DDHS Orchestra Director Jennifer Bayerl.
DDHS violin player Aaron Wojciechowski performed a solo with the orchestra during that work.
Following the concert and a swamp tour, where students got to hold a baby alligator, the day ended with a big dinner of more Southern favorites at Mulate’s Live Cajun Music Restaurant.
On Friday, the DDHS Orchestra put on a jazz concert at the Natchez Dock on the Mississippi River in the French Quarter as a festival was about to begin.
The students then toured the French Quarter of New Orleans, a city known as the birthplace of jazz, and watched and listened to many of the street music performers.
The tour was during the midst of the French Quarter Festival, which is truly a celebration of New Orleans music.
After dinner the orchestra headed out to attend a concert of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, which played a variety of works, from a piece composed by one of the orchestra’s members, to a movement from Bernstein’s “West Side Story,” to a Mexican “Mambo” composed by Carlos Miguel Prieto, the conductor of the Mexican National Symphony.
On the last full day of the trip, students visited the World War II Museum and watched the 4D film by Tom Hanks “Beyond All Boundaries.” They also toured the Audubon Aquarium and returned for the French Quarter Festival for more music, shopping and dining.
About the trips: Each year, students involved in music at DDHS take trips to national music scenes to study the craft of making music. Trips rotate each year between the DDHS Orchestra, DDHS Band and DDHS Choirs. Students and families do fundraising for the trips, which have taken them across the country, from the jazz scenes of New Orleans to the world-renowned classical music venue Carnegie Hall in the heart of New York City.