Edmond Memorial High School Orchestra Goes To D.C. After 2020 Trip Canceled

An Oklahoma high school orchestra trip to DC planned for March of 2020, was canceled because of COVID. That trip finally happened this week with 44 Oklahoma students getting to perform in our nation's capitol.

Monday, April 1st 2024, 10:05 pm



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An Oklahoma high school orchestra trip to the nation’s capital, originally planned for March 2020 but canceled because of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, finally happened last week — 44 members of the Edmond Memorial High School orchestra came to Washington with strings attached.

“This trip is something that has been a lot of years in the making,” said EMHS orchestra Director David Koehn in an interview last Friday, “we were scheduled to come here two weeks before Covid hit and shut everything down, so this is the first time I’ve had a chance to take kids here since then.”

Koehn says he was intent on making the trip memorable for the students, both for music opportunities it afforded and for opportunities to see and do things new and different. One stop on Friday that met both goals was at Day Violins in Chantilly, Virginia, seen as the premier string shop in the DC metro.

“We got to play for them, which was really cool,” said EMHS Senior and viola player Glory Suttles, “because, I mean, we get to play for others like our parents, but we don’t really get to play for people from out of state, so that was really cool.”

On Saturday, the students participated in a clinic at George Washington University's Corcoran School of the Arts and Design with Scott Wood, Director of Orchestral Activities.

“[He] is going to give us the opportunity to work for about an hour and a half to two hours with him over the music we’ve prepared,” Koehn explained, “and he has some music for us as well that they’re going to actually read for the first time with him, it’s going to be great.”

For every musical opportunity the group had over the 4-day trip, there were multiple chances to go to museums, and the group took full advantage.

“I love DC, it’s probably one of my favorite places,” said Clara Pierce, also a senior who plays cello.

For Pierce and many of the students, this was not their first visit to Washington, but they say this trip felt different, being with friends and seeing things they can't see in Oklahoma.

“It’s just really cool to come here,” Pierce said in an interview, experiencing and learning different things about our history, about our country.”

Arlington National Cemetery was a highlight for many of the students, even those who'd seen it before.

“I was like eight when I went, so it didn’t really resonate with me,” said Suttles, “but going out there now and seeing all the graves was really impactful.”

Among the other sights the group visited were the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, the Space Shuttle Discovery, the Holocaust Museum, and much more.

“I think that they will go back a changed ensemble with stories to tell the rest of their friends,” said Koehn.

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