In April of 2009, the Watkins Overton High School Wind Symphony journeyed over six hundred miles from its hometown of Memphis, Tennessee to fight the odds in the Bluebonnet Classic Musical Festival. The Bluebonnet Classic is a national music competition held in San Antonio, Texas for which high school bands, orchestras, and choirs audition via recordings of a recent concert performance. The Overton Wind Symphony of 2007-2008, direct by Andre Feagin, submitted recordings of its 2008 Spring Concert and was chosen as one of the ten contestants in the 2009 Bluebonnet Classic competition. The trip to San Antonio, Texas was unforgettable because it gave me a chance to escape with my favorite people from my routine life in Memphis; it was an inspiring once-in-a-lifetime experience; and it introduced me to travel.
Getting away from Memphis was wonderful. As I look back on my childhood, I can honestly sum it up in one word: sheltered. I did not have the opportunity to participate in many activities that the typical high school teenager was allowed; I was rarely allowed to go to the mall with my friends, visit their homes, meet them at the movies, etc. Therefore, on the day of the trip, I was incredibly excited. Not only would I be spending four days with my band family and adored director, Mr. Feagin, but I was also going to be free from my usual mundane chores.
The greatest pleasure of the trip was in overwhelming our competition. In a city that has become known for its crime rate and unscrupulous politicians, the Memphis Overton High CAPA program is the diamond in the rough. Within Overton there is exceptional talent. The Wind Symphony worked hard every single school day from 1 to 4 PM, even rehearsing some weekends and completing a 24 hour Rehearse-A-Thon in which we rehearsed from 9 PM on a Saturday until 9 PM Sunday. In getting us prepared for the competition, Mr. Feagin would say, “Wouldn’t it be something if a poor high school band from Memphis traveled to Texas and outplayed the kids in Texas, who have more money than we could dream of?” To our amazement, we did just that, winning first place in our class, first place in overall musicianship, and first place in the entire show. What a dream come true!
Furthermore, my trip to San Antonio encouraged me to make travel a part of my future. I undoubtedly grew from this trip and feel that everyone should travel as often as possible. The experience that I gained in the four days of being in San Antonio could not have been attained back in Memphis. Traveling is more than just sight seeing or getting away; it is an opportunity for personal growth.
In conclusion, going to San Antonio was a wonderful chance to bond with my best friends, compete in a national competition, and discover the benefits of traveling. Thanks to this excursion, I will subscribe to a lifestyle influenced by diversity in which I travel at every possible opportunity.
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