Tipton High School Band Goes on a St. Louis Band TripChris Frick
Embarking on a St. Louis Band Trip after over a year of pandemic shutdowns can be challenging and yet, exhilarating for the students and staff.
The Tipton HS (IN) band along with Band Director Matthew Skiba, departed on a three-day, two-night excursion to St. Louis, the Arch and the sights and sounds found at Union Station. “When I was young, my parents always ensured we traveled whenever possible to try new things, learn about history and see the world. I want to pass that passion along to my students and taking a trip with the band is a great way to do so,” said Skiba.
The group boarded the coach at the high school on a Friday early afternoon for their St. Louis band trip. The bus headed west and a few hours later, they were pulling into St Louis. They arrived at the Gateway Arch in time for a lovely dinner cruise down the mighty Mississippi River. Live music and delicious food were enjoyed as was the backdrop of the Arch and the St Louis skyline. They then loaded up the coach and did a quick hotel check-in before heading off to bed.
The next morning, it was a delicious breakfast at the hotel then off to the St. Louis Arch. Skiba said, “This was the first trip I conducted as a band director. I see travel as an amazing incentive for students.” Skiba is in his third year at Tipton HS.
The Arch is an amazing piece of architecture. The monument we know today began in 1935, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt designated property along the St. Louis riverfront to be developed as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, now known as Gateway Arch National Park. The Gateway Arch is 630 feet high, making it the tallest monument in the United States. It is as wide as it is tall.
Construction began in 1961 and concluded October 28, 1965, with the installation of the final section. The budget came in at $13.4 million, employing a few hundred workers with amazingly no loss of life. The foundations extend 60 feet into the ground and, in its entirety, the Arch weighs 43,226 tons, including 900 tons of stainless steel. Built to withstand earthquakes and high winds, the monument was designed to sway up to 18 inches. Today, up to 6,700 visitors per day take the 4-minute tram ride to the top.
“My favorite part of the trip to St. Louis was the morning spent at the Gateway Arch. It was a first for many of our students and being witness to that was a fantastic experience,” said Skiba.
Next stop on the St. Louis band trip was the City Museum. The City Museum is a 100-year-old warehouse in downtown St. Louis in which artists have repurposed the pieces of old cities to build miles of tunnels, slides, climbers, bridges and castles. The students were given plenty of time to explore the area and enjoyed lunch while in the museum.
Finally, they were off to Union Station and the St. Louis Aquarium. Being at the heart of Union Station’s revival, they proudly developed the cure to St. Louis’s landlocked blues: a 120,000-square-foot aquarium, with over 13,000 animals across 44 exhibits including the 250,000-gallon shark habitat.
The students were given free time in Union Station and enjoyed the Fire and Light show. This multi-million dollar breathtaking fire, water and light music show features a 100-foot long waterfall with 50 nozzles that spray water 40 feet down into the lake. Also a highlight of the trip, was The Grand Hall Light Show. This stunning 3D light show features flowers that sway, fireworks bursts and other images dancing around the 65-foot ceiling of the Grand Hall lobby. Created by Technomedia, an award winnings collaborator with entertainment company Cirque du Soleil, the 3D light show is the first of its kind in the US.
Skiba said, “I’m excited for future endeavors where performing can be included as well. One of my greatest memories for band was at a performance on a band trip, and I want to provide that opportunity to my students.”
The traveling party returned to the hotel after a very busy day of sights and sounds in St. Louis and ordered pizza. The next morning, they grabbed a quick lunch and loaded the coach for their trip back to Indiana. But first, a stop at the always-popular Six Flags.
Six Flags St. Louis, features characters and rides from many Warner Bros. films such as Looney Tunes, DC Comics, Scooby-Doo and more. From thrilling coasters to rides for young children, this park offers something for everyone. The group enjoyed lunch in the park, then climbed aboard for the late evening arrival at Tipton HS.
“The memories made from the time spent in the museum, to fitting students into the pods to get to the top to seeing their expressions gazing down at the city, and finally watching the documentary to see how the Arch was made was a major highlight of the trip for me. It’s something I’ll never forget and I hope they don’t either,” said Skiba.
The group arrived home safely and with great memories of a trip to the St. Louis Arch and all that St. Louis has to offer. “I’m so pleased with everything Vicky Wielosinski, Bob Medworth and Music Travel Consultants did to put this trip together during these crazy times,” said Skiba.