(Seguin) -- The Seguin High School Band is officially on its way to Carnegie Hall. After months of preparation, planning and fundraising, the band consisting of 115 plus members and chaperones are finally headed to the Big Apple. The band is set to perform at the prestigious concert hall on Monday.
Band Director Stan Mauldin says there's definitely excitement for the group expected to travel all day -- arriving in New York City today.
He says the whirlwind of anticipation ranges from flying on a plane for the first time, to the chance of seeing snow. All in all, he says this particular group of kids has been working hard to have this once in a lifetime experience.
"In the band hall, as far as the preparation, we're pretty much ready to go. The kids are playing extremely difficult music. They learned all of that music in 90 days. We've kind of set the tone for the standard for the band for a while so kids are coming to rehearsal. Kids are working real hard. You hear a lot of people practicing. So that will carry on for years to come hopefully. The kids are super excited about leaving. Most of them have not been on an airplane before. So they're really excited about that, a little anxious about that. The thing I worry about the most is the weather in New York. It's supposed to snow. The kids just can't wait to get up there and see snow. Most of them have never seen anything but Seguin snow, which is not much snow at all. So they're hoping to get the blizzard and all the adults are hoping it's not a blizzard. The fun stuff that we're going to do, we're going to go see the Lion King. We're going to see Stomp and the Statue of Liberty and all of that. It's really interesting that the adults are all excited about seeing that and the kids want to get out and see snow. It's going to be a great time and a great week and we'll build some memories that'll last a lifetime for them," said Mauldin.
Mauldin says despite two days of experiencing New York, he says the kids are really gearing up for the actual concert performance Monday night. He says Monday will definitely be a fun filled and memorable day.
"Monday morning, we'll get up and eat a late breakfast. We've got a cruise on the Hudson River which will take us around the Statue of Liberty again. We will have seen the Statue of Liberty once. We're going to get off and see the island itself and go inside the Statue of Liberty as much as they will let us in. Then, we'll have kind of a brunch cruise, breakfast/lunch kind of a thing out on the river. Then from there, the kids will go back to the hotel and change and about five o'clock, we'll run over to the hall and go do our concert. We'll have some meetings from the conductors inside the hall to go through the layout of the hall while the kids are getting their things together, but then, we'll bus over to the hall and then, we'll do our concert that evening. The concert starts at seven o'clock and we go on about 8:35 or 8:40 that evening," said Mauldin.
As already announced, Mauldin says that night's concert will be dedicated to the Seguin community -- a community he says has provided the emotional and monetary means to make the trip. In February, the city answered the call of Seguin Radio KWED during its 5 Days of Giving Cash for Carnegie Campaign. After still needing $20,000, the community came together and in just five days, raised a little more than $24,000 for the band trip.
As the director, Mauldin says it is a very exciting time for the SHS band program. He says even the experiences leading up to today's departure to New York has been life changing.
"It's been a real thrill to see our kids grow and to see the program grow. We got into the game a little late. We've raised a large some of money with the help of this community and we've learned some really interesting and difficult music in about 90 days. That's been a thrill to watch the kids grow musically. It's going to be a thrill to watch them grow as we take them out to the city. As we were talking about the other day in class, it's really fun as they come back home and think about some of the things they've seen and done and make some changes in our band hall and within school to make things better for all of us here in Seguin," said Mauldin.
The band on Thursday night treated the community to a Pre-Carnegie Concert at First Baptist Church. Seguin Radio KWED hopes to follow along as the band takes on this experience over the weekend with phone interviews and photos. Updates will also be provided as available on Seguin Radio KWED/Seguin Daily News' Facebook page. The SHS band is set to return home Tuesday night.