The smell of freshly sharpened pencils and the sound of music wafted through Okanagan Mission Secondary’s main entrance.
Band students practiced their final rehearsal for next week’s performance, which will feature a video on the liberation of the Netherlands by Canadians in WWII.
The students travelled to the Netherlands for the first time during part of their spring break, getting the chance to collaborate with locals and perform at a cathedral.
Grade 12 Devin Waller said playing in front of a cathedral made him feel like an actual musician.
“When you’re in front of a cathedral with 1,000 people in front of you, it’s like, oh wow, this is the real deal,” he said. “I’m trying not a pass out,” adding he felt like a professional musician getting to play in front of a large audience.
“I’ve never felt so strongly for the veterans of the war and the music,” said Grade 11 student Byrn Forrest, on her experience in the Netherlands.
Trips have been ongoing for the students at OKM, but this was the first time the school visited the Netherlands.
Around 80 students and five chaperones attended the 10-day excursion.
The students performed with locals in Twello, a village in the Netherlands.
“I think it’s one of the neatest things I’ve seen as a professional; watching students sit beside people that they maybe can’t communicate with, with the language barrier, and music becomes that language,” said music director Megan Fredrick.
The performance will begin at 7 p.m., April 25 at the high school.