This year, my school’s band went on our most expensive, yet most exhilarating trip yet to Boston and Salem, Massachusetts. What made it even more amazing was the day we left school to drive to Boston was my birthday, my 18th birthday of all birthdays. It was my ideal way of celebrating it.
After a long 24-hour bus ride, we finally arrived in Salem, Massachusetts at noon on April 8th. It was a peaceful town residentially, but it was busy downtown because of its much tourism. We first stopped at the mall to eat, take a bathroom break, and check out souvenir shops for about half an hour before meeting back at our buses to split up into groups. Half of our band toured the House of the Seven Gables first, the other half visited the Salem Witch Museum first, and then we rotated. My group went to the Seven Gables exhibit first. The rebuilt House of the Seven Gables exhibit was really neat because the house was small on the outside, but it was huge on the inside. Once we went upstairs, we were awed by the many “secret passageways” and staircases. My friends and I called it our dream home. After the Seven Gables exhibit, my group went into another souvenir shop, sightsaw some more, bought some delicious ice cream cones from Salem’s local creamery, and went to the Salem Witch Museum. The museum was interesting because we were led into a dark room with sculptures of different scenes surrounding us above. Each of the different scenes would light up in turn as a recorded narration sounded describing each event in the history of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials. My favorite part of that museum was after the narration when we saw more sculptures of “witches” then and now, and there was a wall describing the psychology behind the witch hunts. It stated that there is a universal formula to these horrific events – scapegoat+trigger=event – and it showed how other events in history were comparable to the Witch Hunt such as the era of McCarthyism and the September 11th attacks. After the Witch Museum, the two groups went on a ghost tour where our tour guides took us to different locations in Salem and narrated stories of alleged ghosts haunting the houses and other buildings.
We booked a hotel, got settled in, and the next day, the band had a band clinic at New Hampshire University with the composer of one of our pieces as our clinician. Then, we drove to Boston. It was a grim, rainy day, but that didn’t stop us from having fun. We first toured around Boston before stopping at a mall to eat and buy souvenirs, and then we drove around Boston. We had witty tour guides explain each site, such as the Trinity Church, the First Christian Church Scientist, the Massachusetts Capitol, and Boston Botanical garden. The people on my bus loved our tour guide so much because she had this thick Boston accent that we loved quoting. Our next stop was at the Boston Museum of Science where we spent an hour checking out neat exhibits, testing booths, and attending lightning shows before performing another concert in the museum’s auditorium. Afterwards we ate dinner and shopped at Quincy Market for an hour before going back to the hotel.
The next day was the best day on the trip. Our first stop was to Fenway Park, the oldest baseball park in the country. We got to sit in seats on every side of the park, walk on the brick of the field, and hear stories and legends of the Boston Red Sox. Upon leaving the park, I was converted to Red Sox-ism. I am now a Red Sox fan for sure! Next, we went on Freedom Trail, where our bus drivers drove us to different places along the country’s quest for independence. We got to walk aboard to U.S.S. Constitution and bravely climb up and down Bunker Hill Monument, which is 294 steps high. We did a total of 588 steps of walking! With our legs sore and shaky, we were glad to sit back down in the bus again as it took us to the famous No Name restaurant. Once we were full and our appetites satisfied, we went to see a concert of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It was long, but it took our breath away with flawless playing and dramatic songs.
The next day was the shortest and the longest. It was the shortest amount of time in Boston because we just went to the JFK Library before leaving to go back home, and it was the longest because the bus ride was so tedious compared to the fun we were having back in Boston. The JFK Library was interesting because we got to learn about his life before his presidency and learn about the issues he had to deal with during his presidency, and it had this cool lower story in which any sounds made would echo off of a really high ceiling and the windows had a nice view of Boston Harbor.
I will never forget this band trip. It gave me deeper insight of the history of our country, it has a unique environment, and it has great places for sightseeing. I hope that one day I can go back again, but this time I want to stay longer and learn more.
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