ALHS band, orchestra visit St. Louis

Published 8:33 am Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Albert Lea High School band and orchestra took a four-day trip on March 19-23 to St. Louis, Mo. Even though it was mostly cold and rainy, and the weather was not much different from here in Albert Lea. The trip was loads of fun.

We departed on a chilly day from the Albert Lea High School on March 19. Multiple stops and eight hours later, we arrived at the Drury Inn in St. Louis.

On Saturday morning, we had the opportunity to play for and receive constructive feedback from Dan Presgrave, director of bands and orchestras at Washington University. Presgrave gave general comments on how to improve our sound and musicianship. After the clinic we visited the nearby St. Louis “Walk of Fame,” a Missouri version of the “Walk” in Hollywood. The rest of the day was spent at The Hard Rock Cafe and the famous Gateway Arch. We ate dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory. While the food was good, the service was a little slow and we found ourselves behind schedule. We were forced to race to see the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at the beautiful Palmer Orchestra Hall.

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Sunday was another great day, full of museums. We spent time at the St. Louis Art Museum, The Museum of Missouri History, and the St. Louis Science Museum. All three of these are located in Forest Park, site of the 1904 World’s Fair. After getting our share of education for the day, we braved the cold rain to visit the animals at the famed St. Louis Zoo. Only the polar bears seemed really happy with the weather! We also spent some time at the famous St. Louis Union Station. Our Sunday ended with a Riverboat Cruise, where we ate a delicious meal followed by a fun dance for all students. The cruise offered a great view from the swollen Mississippi River of downtown St. Louis, including the illuminated arch. We also witnessed a boat fire. The historic “Robert E. Lee” riverboat was totally consumed by flames while firefighters attempted to contain the fire from the shore.

Our final day was Monday. We visited the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Then the jazz band and orchestra played for local elementary kids at the Zion Harvester Lutheran School in St. Charles, Mo. The sun came out just in time for us to load the buses for the trip home.

We arrived back in Albert Lea late Monday night.