CRESTVIEW — Members of The Big Red Machine are taking an old joke pretty seriously as they prepare to depart Friday for Washington, D.C., and New York City.
"How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" the out-of-towner asks the New Yorker. "Practice!" he replies.
During their last days before boarding the bus for the Northeast, the Crestview High School band is practicing diligently in preparation for the Wind Ensemble's performance at the legendary performance hall in Midtown Manhattan.
During their visit to the Big Apple, the full Big Red Machine will perform on the deck of the World War II aircraft carrier USS "Intrepid." Band members may have to scrunch together: Sharing the deck is the space shuttle "Enterprise."
The students will also attend a performance of the hit Broadway musical "Wicked," director Jody Dunn said.
Before arriving in New York, the band will spend a couple days in the nation's capital, where in addition to exploring significant monuments and Smithsonian museums, they will attend Sunday services at the National Cathedral, Dunn said.
While the band is preparing to explore the Northeast, 45 members of the high school chorus are putting in overtime rehearsing for performances in Nashville, Tenn.
The legendary stage of the Grand Ole Opry House awaits the girls' Destiny show choir during the April 3 Show Choirs Nationals competition.
"We are the Grand Ole Opry show that night," choral music director Kevin Lusk said.
The next morning the Women's Choir and Chorale perform at Two Rivers Baptist Church during the World Stride Heritage Festivals competition.
"And then we'll go around Nashville and do Nashville stuff," including a backstage tour at the Country Music Hall of Fame and exploring The Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson's plantation, Lusk said.
The chorus will attend a performance by the Midtown Men, original cast members of the hit Broadway show, "Jersey Boys," who will perform with the Nashville Symphony.
The kids will also feast at the Old Spaghetti Factory, located in a classic turn-of-the-century brick commercial building in Nashville's historic riverfront district.
Lusk and Dunn said out of town travel is integral to their students' education, providing opportunities to experience places beyond their hometown that they might not otherwise visit.
Plus, Lusk said, performing in competition with choruses from across the country prepares choral music students for college-level music studies and critiques.
Both the band and the chorus have been holding fund-raising events throughout the academic year in preparation for their travels, activities that also offer life lessons, their directors said.