North Tahoe High band students tour the Big Apple | SierraSun.com

North Tahoe High band students tour the Big Apple

Dean Nordby
Special to the Sun

TAHOE, Calif. — Last week, 82 students and 22 adults from North Tahoe High School's band took an unforgettable trip to New York.

Five days of travel and experiences I hope they will never forget.

Most of the highlights of the trip came from the responses from the New Yorkers themselves.

A cast member from "Phantom of the Opera" came out to tell our students, "We can see you from the stage and the performers were talking about the young people who were in the audience who dressed so nicely and were such an appreciative audience" that she had to come out and tell us how thankful the cast was.

She said she had never done that before.

Our students were very proud of themselves, as they should be.

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The tour guide said in all of the years he has guided students, he had never seen a cast member speak to the students. His word was "unprecedented."

After watching "Lion King" and just before seeing "Phantom of the Opera," students were taken to a back stage clinic put on by cast members from the two shows. They learned dance moves and sang a show song with cast members. The students appreciated actively participating in the events.

Students were also involved in the "Blue Man Group" production, as they were up front and personal. The Blue Man show uses audience members and I was confident in our student's behavior. They were fantastic.

One of the trip highlights was the Cotton Club. NTHS students clapped for every solo and appreciated every song.

It was "Gospel Jazz Night" — I was concerned about the subject matter — but the students filled the dance floor and yelled for more. The performers, impressed with the band kids, thanked me for bringing them.

In the hotel, a woman asked Sue Rae Irelan if she was part of this group.

Fearing trouble was brewing, I let Sue Rae take the lead. The woman said she travels all over and had never seen such polite students. She was impressed the students talked to each other and not spend their cell phones. Students used "Please" and "Thank you" and let people go in front of them in line.

Seeing New York through the eyes of North Tahoe's youth was an amazing gift. I am so proud of our students. They represented our school, their families and our music program so well.

Even with flight cancellations in Denver and broken buses in New York, the students just did what they always do … their best.

It was my absolute pleasure to be a part of such an amazing organization. Thank you students for reminding me why I got into teaching.

Thanks for your "shining eyes" and taking chances to enjoy your educational opportunities.

I am very proud of you all!