Art and band students travel to Empire City


Director of Education for Jupiter Band Instruments Peter Boonshaft leads the CHHS band and shows them the ropes.

This story also appears in the March 2023 print edition of The Heights Herald.

“Rise and shine, early birds! For all of you band and art kids, who’s ready to head to New York City? The city with the Big Apple! Where the Statue of Liberty lies! And I have a lot more where that comes from! Therefore, all of you guys are in for a treat in terms of activities! Without further ado, off to New York!”

On March 11, the concert band and advanced art students at Columbia Heights High School (CHHS) got to school at 8:30 a.m. with all of their luggage before boarding the coach bus. The bus left just after 10 a.m. The ride took about 24 hours with stops every four hours to eat and stretch their legs. Students and accompanying staff stayed at the Hilton Times Square South Hotel in New York City. 

I’m anticipating [the] sightseeing,” Genevieve Johnson (11) said. “While I also think that it’s good for us to get some feedback from professionals for our seminar while we’re there, I’m most excited for walking around NYC.”

Photo by Sarah Honeywell

Upon arrival, Sunday’s itinerary started with a quick stop to  Liberty Park to see the Statue of Liberty, a visit to the 9/11 museum and surrounding memorial center, and a trip to Times Square after arriving at the hotel. 

On Monday, the group split up between the band and art students. The band went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, enjoyed a Central Park and a workshop with Mr. Peter Boonshaft, Director of Education for Jupiter Band Instruments. The art crew went on a photo architecture tour, visited the Neue Galerie art museum and headed towards Central Park for a stroll. Both groups met back in the evening to bowl and go to an arcade. 

On Tuesday, the band kids headed to the Natural History Museum and the  art group went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a guided tour and workshop. In the evening, everyone met up again to go see “Camelot” at Lincoln Center, starring some tony award winners such as Andrew Burnap and Phillipa Soo. 

On the fourth day in the big apple, the band students ventured on a Apollo Theatre Tour and enjoyed a trip to the National Jazz Museum in Harlem while the art students visited the Museum of Modern Art with the added bonus of another guided tour and art experience. At sunset, everyone met up again to go see the Broadway show “SIX” and met the cast afterwards before returning to the hotel for the last “lights-out” of the trip.

On Thursday, everyone experienced a variety of last-chances. The first stop was Montclair University in New Jersey with a tour and clinic for the band folk and just a visit for the art students. Then, a visit and tour of the Newark Arts High School for both groups to visit their counterparts, either the AP Art class or Concert band. The last and final stop was to the Grammy Museum for both groups.

Lastly, in the evening, those on the trip boarded the bus for the trip back to CHHS.

The trip back to CHHS continued into Friday until the buses eventually pulled back into the school parking lot late in the afternoon. This was an amazing trip, seeing the bright lights, the tours, the musicals and performances, the entertainment in the big city was an astonishing and breathtaking opportunity for performing and visual arts students alike. Having the chance to wear some Heights gear emblazoned with the slogan “Roll on!” helped give the big city a taste of our small town Hylanders.