Several months ago, Abby made the decision to join Marching Band to play alto sax. Marching Band is her first official "high school" activity with practice starting at the beginning of June. In addition to practice 4 days a week, she participated in 4 marching parades in June which all were part of the preparation to perform in the International Lions Parade in Seattle. Honestly, knowing that she was going to get to go on a trip to Seattle, WA was one of the primary reasons Abby joined marching band.
I have never been in Marching Band, but Abby was lucky to get some uniform help from her marching band experienced, Grandma Rose, who hemmed up the trousers for Abby. We had to go through a bit of a learning curve on getting the appropriate white gear to wear as a first layer under the uniform and special rolling-heel shoes, but it all came together.
As the trip departure time got closer and we made the necessary packing arrangements, Abby began to get more and more excited about the trip. Of course, friends and family also helped build the excitement by being enthusiastic and supportive. The full reality of this trip-of-a-lifetime began to really take hold.
Abby was part of a large 130 member marching band which departed for Seattle, WA on Sunday, July 3rd. They rode in coach buses for 23hrs straight through to get there. Abby snapped this sunset picture somewhere in Montana on day 1.
Abby texted me early into her trip to tell me that she forgot to put her SD card back in her camera, so I told her she would have to just make due with taking pics using her cellphone. One of her favorite activities was the time they got to spend at the Pike's Street Market. Abby said she loved how colorful and unique everything was. She especially enjoyed the street performers.
The Fergus Falls band performed on Tuesday, July 5th in the International Lion's Parade. Abby said it was a long parade, but that give them lots of time to visit with kids from other countries who were marching near them. Later the band members were honored and thrilled to find out they had placed 1st.
After the parade, the kids got to go up in the Space Needle, and Abby thought the glass elevators on the outside of the building were so fun.
The views of the city were fabulous on the crystal clear day they visited.
If you look, you can see Mt Rainier in the background along the horizon.
Abby must have been missing us because she generously got each of us unique key-chain souvenirs from the Space Needle. Every time I talked to Abby, she would be telling me about another "awesome" thing she saw or event she participated in. It was so nice to hear her enthusiasm especially after being subjected to her "teen-tude" so often of late.
On Wednesday, July 6th, the whole group got to take a 6 1/2 hour whale watch boat ride in the Puget Washington state sound area. They were treated to seeing a pod of killer whales! I was much more excited about it than Abby was since whale watching is a bucket list item for me. Unfortunately, Abby gets motion-sick (she gets it from her dad) so the 3 hr boat ride to get to the whales & then only see them for 20-30 minutes, before another 3 hr return ride was not really worth it to her. She did say that she is glad she got to go. Abby and her friends spent time naming as many of the whales as they could and I am sure she will have memories of it forever.
On Thursday, July 7th, the buses headed back to Fergus Falls, but not before making one more stop in Glacier National Park to go white water rafting. There were 10 kids per raft under the guide of the Glacier Guides Montana Rafting Company on the Flathead River. It was a 2 hr trip and from the sounds of it, the kids loved it.
A very tired, and much missed Abby got back to Fergus Falls in afternoon on Friday, July 8. We were surprised when we got a call that the kids were going to be back by 2 PM, since they were expected much later at 7:00 PM. Since Steve was gone on a motorcycle trip, it gave Kippy, Abby and me a chance for an all-girls weekend, where we were able to ask Abby tons of questions and hear all about the trip. Sounds like the only downer for Abby was not having a working camera, since she forgot to SD card at home. I thought, however, that her cell phone pics were pretty good anyway.
Kudos to the Fergus Falls Band Boosters club for arranging for such a memorable trip for the kids and to the fabulous directors, Mr. Kummrow & Mrs. Weise for their guidance!