Our Hawaiian Experience

Post date: Dec 16, 2019 9:34:27 PM

By: Olivia Kreft, Staff Writer

Posted December 16th, 2019

Slinger High School had the opportunity to go to Hawaii as a performing trip. This trip made so many memories that will last forever. Here is my Hawaiian experience with the Slinger High School Marching Band.

On Sunday, November 24, 2019, approximately 5 AM, the Slinger High School Marching Band departed for O'Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois. Arriving at the airport for some a walk in the park, and others, it was their first experience. With the flight leaving at 10:10 AM and arriving in Honolulu airport, approximately 3 PM Hawaii time. Now, remember that Hawaii is 4 hours behind Wisconsin time, so it is quite a difference.

With the first day of our journey just basic traveling, everyone was exhausted beyond belief. Plans for the remainder of the day was to help unpack uniforms & band equipment, get comfortable in your room, and then find your dinner. This became a leisurely afternoon. A constant memory of the trip was the lack of sleep. Getting used to the time change, affected sleeping and many activities during the trip.

After getting minimal sleep, we started day two off getting uniforms, hat boxes, instruments, and ourselves ready for the big day. Today, we are performing at the USS Missouri Pearl Harbor, to pay our respects to the USS Arizona fallen soldiers, and the hard-working men and women on the remaining fleet of ships in the harbor. It was a great honor to be present at the memorial of the USS Arizona. We paid tribute to the 1,177 men and women who served and still lie in the ship that is their final resting place. Tears were shed, especially when the three Drum Majors, Drumline Captain, and Color Guard captains laid a wreath for the holiday season in honor of these men and women. Quoted from Mrs. Kieckhafer, "Our kids walked away from this performance with a much greater appreciation for our military and especially for the lives lost on December 7th, 1941. A good number of kids were so moved, they had tears just streaming down their cheeks as they paid their respects to the men buried inside the USS Arizona." Following the visit to the memorial, we performed on the USS Missouri. This was the same concert we exhibited in our Indoor Marching Band Concert. The only exception was that the band performed during an extremely hot day in Hawaii. But regardless of the heat the performance was outstanding! Keeping our military barring was tricky, but it was done and the marching band was awesome! The SHS band finishing the day with a stop at the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. For many this day was such a great experience!

Starting day three, we got to sleep in. After breakfast, we took an hour bus ride to the other side of the island to attend the Polynesian Cultural Center. This place was great! We got to learn all about different Hawaiian tribes, dances, and cultures. During the presentation we had the opportunity to try the local food which included fresh pineapples, coconuts, and fresh herbs. This was quite an amazing show considering that we didn't know what to expect. After having leisure time at the Polynesian Cultural Center, we ate dinner at a buffet that had American and Hawaiian dishes. Some of these dishes were questionable, but it doesn't hurt to try something new at times, especially at a once in a lifetime trip to Hawaii. Finally, after dinner, we got to end the day with the "Breath of Life" performance. This performance told the story of the Hawaiian royal family and how the tribe began. The performance included many different cultural dances, feasts, scenes, and the many languages within the Hawaiian tribes. The "Breath of Life" performance emphasizes how they raise children in a tribe setting and teaching them all the dances, traditions, and roles that they are responsible for. Near the end, the child got married and started his own family, but the story made sense throughout. It was quite inspiring to watch the performance because it helps you understand the Hawaiian culture even more.

Physical and mentally strained, we moved onto day four. Off to Diamond Head! Diamond Head is a dormant volcano on the island of Oahu and this has been turned into a monument for the public to view and hike. Yet, this is no easy hike. I'm talking straight up, a mile in half long, and you are constantly sweating while trying to catch your breath. We learned that taking a faster pace up this volcano wasn't such a good idea after all, cause we were hurting that night. The view was quite amazing from the top of the volcano and the crater that is located just next door is very visible. You would never know how big and rugged this crater is if you were standing in the middle of it. Seeing it from a birds-eye view was remarkable! After hiking back down from this huge volcano we were greeted with a pineapple truck. This was the place to get your refreshments from your strenuous hike. Our refreshment break included many different options from pineapple smoothies to juice in an actual pineapple, American food, and coconut drinks. It was astonishing how such a great hike could wear you out and these refreshments sure did help us afterwards. Once we departed from Diamond Head, we had the rest of the afternoon to do whatever we wanted. For most people they headed straight for the beach or shopping. The beach was the main place to refresh ourselves with some soothing saltwater. Everyone had a blast on this day, but when it came time to hit the hay, we all ran to our hotel rooms!

Continuing the great experience, day five brought quite an astonishing and exciting day. Right away in the morning, everyone departed for Secret Island- which was amazing! Have you ever watched those movies, where they have wooden changing rooms, no showers, and port-a-potties for bathrooms? Where music was blaring the whole time, people surfing, swimming, and just having a blast? Well, this was the place in real life! Everyone was having an absolute blast whether as an individual or a group. After all the festivities on the island, we got to eat lunch on the island. It was nothing special, but still it is on an island! After spending half the day at this island we all headed to Pauli's Lookout. This area is breathtaking! You get to walk right up to the edge of a cliff, looking out to the ocean, small towns, and the wind just speaks to you. Getting to the lookout was torture, especially because everyone was so exhausted. Too much sun for the day will do that to you. After sleeping on the bus for the majority of the ride back to the hotel, we had the rest of the afternoon to ourselves. Most people went to the pool or slept since there was no meeting that night. The entire band was exhausted from the past few days in Hawaii. The day was quite eventful and one that no one will forget considering all the fun we had.

On day six, most people went shopping or just chilled around the hotel property. Some of the stores in Hawaii were cool to walk into, had very expensive choices, but fun stuff to look at. Especially the Tesla store, everyone was obsessed with that store in Hawaii. After our full day of what we wished to do, we got to celebrate Thanksgiving by shopping or doing as we pleased. Pretty cool! Yet, we had one more performance, and this will be remembered forever because one, it was our first-night parade, and second, everyone was sweating, turning purple, and just about ready to pass out. For our final performance of the trip the SHS band got to march in the Waikiki Parade on Thanksgiving day, which ended great! The directors commented, "I had to take a double-take. It didn't sound like our band at first, that's how well you played!". That is one compliment that everyone will remember especially considering everyone was on the verge of passing out. In the end, considering that this day was for ourselves and that we ended it with a band performance, the band directors couldn't have asked for a better experience to be apart of. Marching Band is family and as a family, we had the best trip of a lifetime together!

As the experience came to an end, we were all very disappointed but exhausted and homesick. Day seven was all about preparing for departure and packing our suitcases. The band couldn't be more thankful and honored to have gone to Hawaii as a family that is supportive of everyone. The seven day trip was an absolute blast! It was hard to recover from, but we will always remember this trip. Our performances, attitudes, and the experience overall was so heartfelt, extravagant, and memorable. As we all looked at the island as we flew off the runway we all said silently... "Aloha & Mahalo Hawaii, Until we meet again..."