Hamilton Southeastern High School band members set for Pearl Harbor trip


Nearly 100 Hamilton Southeastern High School band students are set to depart Feb. 16 for Hawaii to perform at the U.S.S. Missouri at Pearl Harbor for President’s Day weekend.

“We are connected with a travel company, Music Travel, and they have a ton of amazing performance opportunities worldwide,” said Audrey Torres, HSE director of bands. “We had to cancel our last trip due to COVID and have been waiting for the right time to start traveling again. Some of my favorite memories as a high school student are from traveling with my high school band and I wanted to bring that same experience and camaraderie to my students.”

Torres said it’s important to create opportunities and positive experiences for students.

“To encourage them to see the world and to bring the universal language of music to audiences everywhere (is important),” she said.

The group’s Feb. 19 program will include patriotic tunes, some Hawaiian-themed music, a medley to honor those that serve in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and the classic Hoosier tune, “Back Home Again in Indiana.”

“We will perform a concert of approximately 30 to 45 minutes of music,” Torres said. “People touring the U.S.S. Missouri or the National Monuments at Pearl Harbor that weekend will get to experience our performance.”

Students and their families found out about the opportunity a year ago and have worked since then to save for the trip and have fundraised through the band program.

“Family members could work concerts and events at Ruoff (Music Center) over the summer or even sell car wash tickets to earn money toward this trip,” Torres said.

Torres said she is excited for the students to create memories through what she calls a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

“Experiencing Pearl Harbor, on President’s Day weekend, no less, will be incredibly meaningful, and I hope that seeing the beauty and wonder that is Hawaii will leave our students breathless and in awe,” she said. “I think it will be educational, emotional and awe-inspiring all at once. People long for connection, and bringing people together through music is so important, particularly after everything humankind has been through these past few years from the pandemic and other hardships.”