After a trip to Japan her sophomore year, senior Libby Dawes was hoping for another exciting trip to take with the band. So when band director Randy Hoepker announced that a trip to Mexico would take place in March, Dawes leapt at the opportunity.
“When it was announced I immediately jumped on board and said I would do whatever to make it happen,” Dawes said
A 7 day trip over spring break. Consisting of Mayan ruins, tours, as well as an afternoon at the beach. The trip is not just limited to sight-seeing, however. Hoover’s band students will get the chance to play and mingle with students from Merida, the town in Yucatan, where they are staying. Dawes enjoyed mingling in Japan and has high hopes for similar encounters in Mexico.
“I really liked the cultural exposure and opportunity to learn with other people who aren’t necessarily like us,” Dawes said. “I made friends in Japan, hopefully I’ll do that in Mexico.”
Out of the 65 students in band there are only 35 going. Along with almost as many chaperones.
A factor in some student and parent minds to not take part in the band’s trip was the safety factor. What with the ongoing violence and crime in parts of Mexico, worry seemed inevitable. But the band will be flying over the violent parts of Mexico into Yucatan which has a lower crime rate than Des Moines. Dawes was among those not phased by the worry of violence.
“I wasn’t really concerned. Actually not at all. People are really skeptical…but they shouldn’t worry,” Dawes said.
The students that are going have had help funding their trip with several fundraisers. A raffle dinner, a community garage sale, and individual approaches like selling pizzas and value cards.
As the time nears where the students and chaperones will board the flight that will take them to warmer climates and different cultures extra work must be done to prepare for the trip. Some preparation can’t begin however. Not yet anyway.
“We have commissioned pieces coming in. We’ll put a lot of time and effort into those once they get here,” Dawes said.
Hoping to make lasting relationship like those in Japan, Dawes believes that music can be a link between cultures.
“It’s a universal language,” Dawes said. “The notes on the score don’t change. It’s nice to be able to connect with people across the world.”