Fully packed with daily necessities waiting for their trip to officially start, Marching Band joyfully stepped into the red coach bus to begin a four-day trip to Yosemite National Park from March 27 to March 30.
At the first stop of the band tour, band members got to experience a tour of Dewar’s Candy Store that has been in business for over 100 years in Bakersfield, California. They received peanut butter flavored Taffy Chews and a scoop of ice cream with the flavor of their choice.
Although many enjoyed the taffy that was given sophomore Andy Lam said otherwise.
“The ice cream shop was disgusting, Lam said. “I don’t know why I ate [the taffy]. [The taffy] was so sweet and had peanut butter—the two things I hate the most. I don’t have a sweet tooth.”
After the candy store, band members toured the campus of University of California, Merced. At around 6 p.m., they arrived at the Half Dome Village at Yosemite National Park. Band members quickly unpacked their luggage in their designated tent cabins to get ready for dinner. As night fell, many students snuggled into their sleeping bags with freezing temperatures during midnight. Lam reminisced about the time at Yosemite despite the conditions.
“Yosemite was beautiful,” Lam said. “I’ve never been to a national park; the closest thing I’ve ever been to something that big [was] Almansor [Park]. I was really hoping there would be more time staying at Yosemite. Two days just does not feel like enough.”
The following day, band members enjoyed their breakfast at Pavillion. The whole day, they explored Yosemite and had a picnic session before their next stop at Fresno Hotel.
“I think one of the highlights was just having everybody sitting out there in Yosemite having picnic lunch under those beautiful trees and sitting out [in the] meadows and just looking at everybody just laughing, [and] smiling,” band director Tammy Cognetta said.
Before the end of dawn, the coach bus arrived to Fashion Fair Mall so the students could have dinner on their own and returned to Piccadilly Inn Shaw Hotel in the city of Fresno to rest for the day.
The next day, Marching Band experienced a band clinic with Dr. Gary Gilroy at Fresno State University to strengthen and improve the band’s sight reading skills and music theory. Afterwards, they arrived at Classic Billiards to challenge each other to games of pool.
Senior Will Hoh explains how not many youngsters nowaday are playing pool that can be beneficial for one’s social life.
“It was fun to have an experience like playing Billiards,” Hoh said. “Not many youths know how to play and by us going it opened our minds in this new hobby.”
After playing Billiards, band played music at Rose View Terrace, a senior residence center.
“To play for the old folks, that’s just a highlight for them,” Cognetta said. “I mean, they’ll be talking about that for weeks. You get to share something like that with older people [and that] is exciting.”
Returning back to the hotel, band members dressed themselves in semi-formal attire to attend a musical called “Mamma Mia” at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater. They enjoyed a full line buffet and socialized with people at their table.
Senior Richard Ha explained that this was the most memorable day out of the trip to him.
“I pretty much got to meet new people and become closer with them,” Ha said. “It was my first time going to a musical. The food was great and there was a certain point [where] everyone in the bus started singing [after the musical], which was sincere.”
On the last day of the band tour, Marching Band was able to enjoy their last continental breakfast at the Piccadilly Hotel and headed toward the Sun Maid Market at Kingsburg, CA. Unfortunately, the attraction was closed. Some were disappointed that the Sun Maid Market was not open for tourists, but the chaperones decided to detour to a small town in Kingsburg.
At the end of the day, they finished their last performance at Six Flags Magic Mountain, which ended the tour.
“There were no complaints really,” Cognetta said. “If there were any, they were minor. I mean this was probably the happiest tour we’ve ever had.”