Puerto Rico 2019
Summary of Travel
Throughout the 2019 spring break excursion to Puerto Rico Band members were able to sight see, explore, learn, and give back! This trip was jam packed with fun and was very busy to help everyone get the best experience.
Most importantly, the TW Band students and staff gave back on this performance tour. Before leaving, an instrument drive was enabled to help the music students in Puerto Rico get necessary materials for instruction. Prior to our travels, Puerto Rico was hit very hard by two back to back hurricanes which destroyed many resources that we take for granted. The Trojan band the the Wauwatosa Community was able to donate many supplies to help them continue to rebuild their beautiful community and keep the music alive! Five pallets of supplies were donated to two schools, the Dorado Academy and La Banda Escolar. Supplies included, instruments, marching band uniforms, print music, reeds, and other supplies. Congratulations and thank you to everyone who was able to donate and help us achieve our goals!
DAY 1- Travel
Tosa West Band students, staff, chaperones, and tag a longs has a nice day of travel. We flew MKE to MCO then MCO to SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico. Once we arrived, we checked in and went right to bed for the long day to come on Sunday!
DAY 2- THE CAVES, OLD SAN JUAN, WELCOME DINNER
Day 2 was a jam packed day leaving travelers all tuckered out when they were done! We began the day with an excursion to the caves, including Cueva Ventana (the window cave). While there we got a first hand look at the nature in Puerto Rico. There were many different species of bats, spiders, trees, birds, and other living organisms that we got to see and learn about. While inside the caves we experienced some of the most exquisite views and rock formations.
From there we traveled back to the San Juan Area to see the Fort and City in Old San Juan. We got a guided tour of both the Fort and the City and learned a lot about Puerto Rican Culture/History on the way. It is amazing to see such an amazing city!
Finally we went back to the hotel for our Welcome dinner consisting of an fantastic buffet feast and some down time at the pools.
Take a look at the slideshow below for some of the pictures that were taken of the sights and groups for the day and check back each day for more pictures:
Day 3- PERFORMANCE, POOL, SALSA
On day 3 we had some amazing interactions with the Puerto Rican people! Today’s highlight included a morning performance. During this performance The Tosa West Band and Juana Diaz concert and jazz bands played a few selections each and combined for three selections at the end! The last songs were amazing to play unified with students who had never rehearsed together before to make wonderful music. All the students at Dorado Academy were able to come and watch this special performance.
At the conclusion of the concert, the Juana Diaz band performed an encore for our band. During this they students taught each other dances typically used within Puerto Rican Culture. In addition to that, there was a special musical and dancing presentation by the Dorado Academy on traditional to Puerto Rico that originated centuries ago and an amazing exchange of instruments. It was a truly special and magical event.
Throughout the afternoon and evening, students were then able to relax and spend some free time at the resort beach/pool. After dinner, they learned the five basic steps to the Salsa and were able to practice all evening.
Take a look at just a few of the pictures from today below:
Day 4- Conservatory of Music, El Yunque Rainforest, Bayou Bay
Today was jam packed with fun! Began by having a performance and clinic with the jazz band at the Conservatory of Music in San Juan. The jazz students played super well and we all learned a lot from watching and talking with students at the conservatory. They all represented Wauwatosa well!
After our performance, we took two different tours today. First, the band went to the Rainforest in El Yunque National Park. While there we got to hike trails, swim in the river, and take pictures at many scenic routes while learning about the forest’s and its characteristics. Then we went over to Bayou Bay. This is were we all had to put our skills to the test. Everyone went in kayaking pairs through a river to make it to the Bioluminescent Bay. While there we learned about how the water produces the colors you see when you paddle and we also got to see some really great constellations. We took the initial trip out at dusk, so our return trip was trickier since we were in the dark following each other’s kayaks.
Take a look below at some of the pictures we got from today:
Day 5- Beach/Shopping
Day 5 was really a great example of “Fun in the Sun!” We spend majority of our day on one of the best beaches in Puerto Rico. While there we got to explore playing in the water, build sandcastles, eat some native cuisine. This was more sun than most of our Wisconsin Bodies could handle… but we will be back at it tomorrow for the catamaran ride.
After the beach, we stopped at one of the largest malls in Puerto Rico. We were able to spend some time shopping and eating dinner. Within the mall, we saw many stores that might be common back in Wisconsin and some new stores.
Take a look at some of the beach fun we had today:
Day 5- Catamaran/Farewell Dinner
Today was part 2 of “Fun in the Sun” for the Tosa West Band. Travelers spent majority of the day on a Catamaran Boat in the lovely Caribbean Sea. The boat made a few stops. One to Snorkel and view fish, coral, and other water inhabitants and another stop to swim on a smaller island near Puerto Rico. The water was a lovely bright blue color and the sun was shining! With that we added to some of our classic Wisconsin Tans (or burns).
Following that, we traveled back to the hotel to change for our Farewell Dinner. At this dinner we were able to try many foods native to Puerto Rico as well as dance to some great music provided by a DJ.
We have had a great time here with learning and trying new things! It is crazy that we have to return tomorrow already and we will miss this lovely island!
Take a look at some of the pictures from today: