More than 50 students returned to Hayes High School this week after spending a week visiting Ireland and performing in a St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Pacer Marching Band Director Andy Doherty said Friday that the band was invited to stay and perform in Lahardane, Ireland, for the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Doherty said Lahardane has a relationship with the city of Delaware, and the band was invited because there are few marching bands in Ireland.
“It was an incredible experience,” Doherty said. He added the students stayed in Lahardane for most of the trip and got to experience a “smaller town Irish experience” instead of a tradition tourist trip.
“(The students) got that true Irish experience,” Doherty said. “It truly broadens their horizons. The internet lets you see other cultures but not interact with them.”
Doherty added the trip showed students how universal music is, and he said in Ireland, there are musicians everywhere, constantly performing. Doherty said the students fund-raised seven months for the trip, and he added it was all worth it.
“It was a truly great experience for everyone,” Doherty said.
Quinten Metzger, a sophomore and baritone player in the marching band, said the trip was “a lot of fun.”
“Our host families were so nice!” Metzger said. “I’m very thankful for them.”
Metzger said he enjoyed going to the tourist sites like Galway and the Cliffs of Moher, but he added the best part was participating in the parade.
“The St. Patrick’s Day Parade was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen,” Metzger said. “I’ll never forget that. It was the opportunity of a lifetime. One hundred percent worth it.”
Dr. Adonis Bolden, a chaperone on the trip and an assistant principal at Hayes, said the trip was “a truly wonderful experience.”
Bolden said the trip gave students a chance to experience a different culture and create lifelong memories.
“(Lahardane’s) hospitality and generosity was sincerely and humbling,” Bolden said. “Seeing some of the different sights and scenes of the country left me speechless and in a state of constant reflection.”
Bolden echoed Doherty’s statement and said the trip showed students that music connects everyone, everywhere.
“Music is a universal language that speaks to us all and is loved by all, regardless of race, socio-economic status, gender or class,” Bolden said. “Students were able to take away an experience of their lives. They created relationships that will last.”
Bolden added he considers the trip “absolutely beneficial” to the students in many ways and said “there was lots of learning that took place outside the confines of the classroom.”
“I think it was instrumental in their maturation process,” Bolden said. “It showed them why it’s important to take advantage of these types of opportunities, and why it’s important to create opportunities for future generations.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.