High School band directors of Geraldine and Sylvania took their band members on a trip to provide them with valuable memories.

Lauren Roszell, the band director at Geraldine High School, and her husband, Patrick Roszell, the band director at Sylvania High School, are currently in Washington D.C. with their bands visiting different national monuments and museums after an “exciting performance” at the Lincoln Memorial Sunday morning.

“[The students] were excited, and we are having a blast,” Lauren Roszell said.

Saturday morning two charter buses of about 45 students and chaperones left for the U.S. Capital, Lauren Roszell said.

Ron Bearden is the retired Crossville band director, and when the Roszells began looking for somewhere to take the band students last summer, Bearden suggested a trip to D.C. and suggested they play at the Lincoln Memorial.

“[Patrick Roszell and I] wanted to give the kids something that is going to stick with them for a while, and we didn’t want to do something that wasn’t educational,” she said. “We wanted something that they would get a lot of value out of.

“Then Ron [Bearden] mentioned he goes to D.C. multiple times a year with bands and school groups, and he mentioned this performance possibility. So, we thought let’s do that, let’s perform, let’s do an educational trip, and let’s make this happen.”

She said their planning started in June last year, and they announced the plans in October once they knew it was going to be possible.

“Yesterday [morning], we played at the Lincoln Memorial, and then did an illuminated monuments tour of FDR, Jefferson, and MLK last night,” Roszell said on Monday. “We just got out of the Capital Building where we went into the House chambers with Congressman Aderholt and his staff.”

The band students from both schools have been meeting to have rehearsals every other week leading up to their performance.

“We played a selection of American-composed music,” she said. “Aaron Copland’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ was what we opened with. We also played ‘Big Noise from Winnetka.’

We played ‘Shenandoah’ because we are near the Shenandoah Valley and the Shenandoah National Park, and we also played a medley of patriotic tunes.”

Bearden went with the bands on the trip. Since, he is familiar with D.C., he is acting as the group’s tour guide for the trip. Lauren Roszell said they have visited several places so far and have a long list of things on their schedule to see before heading back to DeKalb County.

“It’s going to be a trip that they are never going to forget,” she said Monday.

Before returning home Wednesday, the group will visit the Holocaust Museum, the Marine Memorial, the Museum of National History, the Tomb of the Unknowns, the National Archives and the Navy Memorial.

“We’re already talking about possibly going somewhere else in the coming years,” Roszell said.

Roszell said she, her husband and the students are grateful for the Sylvania and Geraldine communities’ efforts to provide them with the resources to go on this trip.

“We want to thank everyone for their support and their assistance in helping us get up here, because it would not have been possible without the support from our communities, our administrators and the faculty at our schools,” Roszell said.

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