By Ashley Kikos '18
After band tours to New York City, New Orleans, and Disney World, I knew my senior year tour to Washington D.C. was going to be an experience I would never forget. Following an eleven-hour bus ride, the band walked around Arlington National Cemetery to visit the graves of the Kennedy family and to witness the changing of the guard. The highlight from Tuesday was exploring the Newseum, especially the FBI and Pulitzer-winning photography exhibit. Before we ended the day, the band made a quick stop at the White House to get a classic tourist photo.
The next day our performance at the Lincoln Memorial got cancelled due to the weather, so we enjoyed a bus ride tour of the embassies. We then broke into small groups to explore the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of Natural History. Later, we departed for the Spirit of Washington cruise, where the entire band danced the night away.
On Thursday, we woke up early to prepare for our first performance in front of the Jefferson Memorial. The performance was filled with sheet music flying everywhere and chilling winds, but the band persisted to give the best performance we could. The group continued on to the National Zoo to see the world famous pandas. After dinner at Buca Di Beppo, each bus got an illuminated night tour of the Lincoln, Korean, Vietnam, and World War II Memorial.
For our last day the band performed at the World War II Memorial with nicer weather and a great crowd. My mom and Mrs. Donnelly even got to conduct the Marist Fight Song to commemorate their four years of being band moms.
The band split up into small groups for our last couple hours. Mr. Creagh’s group enjoyed a lovely picnic in front of an art museum before exploring the National Air and Space Museum. After a final meal at the Hard Rock Café, the band returned home to Chicago.
Overall, my past four trips with the Marist band allowed me to see different parts of the country with my second family. I will be forever thankful for the countless memories, amazing performances, and lifelong friendships. College will have a hard time filling the void in my heart from leaving the best band in the land.