By train, planes, automobiles and Turner Coach, the Brazil Concert Band traveled to New Orleans for performances at the Washington Artillery Park and the National D-Day Museum. The band trip spanned June 24th through June 28th, 2002.
The fourteen hour journey by motor coach left the Northview High School parking lot at five in the morning as our group of enthusiastic musicians kissed loved ones good-bye and crammed the underneath baggage compartments with instruments, bags, music stands and chairs. Snacks and coolers made their way to the interior of the bus along with carry-ons and cameras. After some very creative packing we were ready to roll. It was hard to believe that the past twelve months of planning for this trip were gone and the Brazil Concert Band was once again "on the road".
Trip coordinator Melanie Huber personally crafted the trip through IT Travel of Terre Haute and our friends from Turner Coaches, Inc. Melanie's attention to the smallest details made it a very smooth transaction for all the musicians. Darlene Shepard, with help from Ann Gibson, carefully oversaw the stuffing of each music folder, assuring us of having all the music needed. My duties included selecting the music to be performed and contacting our performance sites in New Orleans. It all fell into place. We've decided we get better at this each trip!
Our journey by bus took us west on I-70, picking up Ralph and Ruth Stewart and Dick and Cartha Gustafson at the Martinsville, IL exit. We even had a fifteen passenger van with us since we had more people than the bus could hold. Dr. Martin Dixon and wife Anne flew their own plane to the Crescent City while Steve and Linda Steppe flew commercially. Carrie Klaus and Troy Cummings opted for a train trip down. Still others took their own cars leaving a day or two early.
We caught I-57 south out of Effingham, eventually merging onto I-55, and proceeded around Memphis into Mississippi, catching I-10 into New Orleans. It was very interesting to observe the change of scenery with hardwood trees giving way to pine. We skirted around Lake Pontchatrain on an elevated section of highway where we saw beautiful swamps and characteristic tin roofed huts.