Holly Marching Band Plays in Pearl Harbor, Hikes Across Volcanoes
(Liam Feeney, July 5, 2022)
Holly, MI – COVID-19 has messed with plenty of peoples schedules through the last three odd years and nobody knows this quite like the Holly Marching band.
A few weeks ago the band took a trip that was quite literally years in the making, leaving a lasting impression on all of those who participated. Through the turmoil of COVID and the numerous delays these young kids and their directors were able to still have a group trip even if it wasn’t as far of a trip as expected.
“It really was a long journey, four years in the making to be exact” said Holly Band Director Ben Baldwin. “The original plan was to go to Ireland to play in the St. Patrick ’s Day parade back in 2020. So starting in 2018 we were planning it out and getting the money together for it. But days before we left COVID19 swept across the world and everything was shut down.”
Initially the trip was just postponed a year when hopes were high that the pandemic might not last as long. Going into 2021 there were still high hopes that they might be able to even play in the St. Patrick’s Day parade still as well. But as the year passed and they once again were faced with another delay Mr. Baldwin and the band decided to shift their destination.
“Once we knew we weren’t going last year we wanted to find somewhere domestic that we thought they’d enjoy. So we settled on Hawaii.”
This wasn’t without worry of another cancellation. As stated before two previous times the band was ready to set off only to have the winds of fate keep them in Michigan. But luckily the band persevered and was able to make the trip to the islands. “To be perfectly honest we were nervous until we touched down that it would be delayed again. But once we got there it was a blast.”
The band had a full week of activities as they did things such as play at the Ala Moana mall, the largest outdoor mall in the US, and go hiking across various mountains and volcanoes across the island including the famous Diamond Head volcano.
But their trip wasn’t just focused on the nature of the island itself as they had a very diverse set of activities planned for the week. They also took a cruise along the Honolulu coast and experienced a traditional Polynesian show when they visited the Polynesian Culture center. The center itself was a major event for the group as they got to immerse themselves in culture and learn more about the islands.
“It was nice to learn about their culture and watch a performance,” Baldwin said of the experience. The trip was highlighted by a performance by the band at Pearl Harbor, something that meant a lot to Baldwin himself who is a former Marine.
They performed a set at the harbor itself before walking around and checking out the various ships and cultural points around the harbor itself. “It was a true honor to get to play there” he said beaming with pride when speaking about the performance. As well as playing at Pearl Harbor, they got to witness a change of command ceremony while they were on base being treated to dinner and a show themselves from the Marine Marching band. The base was just off the Pearl Harbor itself and usually doesn’t have guests, so the Holly Band was able to experience their gracious hospitality. Despite the delays and changes that have plagued this trip the Holly Band persevered and was able to go. Not only did they still get to perform at a special spot but they were treated to an experience not too many before they would have been able to match. All in all the trip was well worth the wait.