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Mt. Pleasant Area band seniors hit the Big Apple

| Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
Mt. Pleasant Area Tower of Power band seniors Carol Ann McCloy (from left), Kaitlyn Shirey, Lindsay Shaffer, Bruno Anys, Celina Orbin, Kate Smith and Jennifer Lesniak enjoy a meal at Planet Hollywood during their recent trip to New York City. Photo taken in May 2014
Mt. Pleasant Area Tower of Power band senior members, include (front, from left) Michaela Knouse, Colleen Kalp, Ashley Kimmick, Katie Smith, Brandi Warburton, Jennifer Lesniak, Olivia Darr, Breanna Wallbaum, Nate Vinkler; (back) Isabelle Fields, Megan Cheek, Madison Mason, Carly Rimel, Celina Orbin, Miranda Nedrow, Traserra Halterman, Lindsay Shaffer, Kaitlyn Shirey, Carol Ann McCloy, Brittany Welch and Keenan Garsteck. Photo taken in May 2014

Mt. Pleasant Area High School seniors recently embarked on their last adventure with the Tower of Power band when they traveled to New York City.

Band director Fred Collins said he arranges full band trips every other year and takes senior members of the band on the years in between.

The weekend senior trip is meant for the students to experience as much as the city as possible, so they do not perform.

The purpose of the trip is for the students to experience life much different than Mt. Pleasant.

“As I tell the students about going to New York, “You are not in Kansas anymore,” Collins said.

Students had the opportunity to see “Les Miserables” and “Cinderella” on Broadway.

“The trip also affords tour students to learn to function as young adults in a society much different than ours,” Collins said.

Students were able to visit Times Square, Rockefeller Center and Grand Central Station as part of a walking tour of the city.

Other sites they took in included a ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty, Battery Park, Chinatown, the 9/11 Memorial and Strawberry Fields.

Student Bruno Anys said he really enjoyed both Broadway shows, but favored “Cinderella.” He felt “Cinderella” was more fun and made him laugh. The highlight of the trip for him, however, was Chinatown.

“Wow, that place (Chinatown) was like stepping into an entirely different culture. All cash, no tax and under the counter stuff,” he said.

Fellow student Carol Ann McCloy said she enjoyed her last band trip together with good friends. She said her favorite part of the trip was seeing “Les Miserables” on Broadway.

Connie Cope and her husband, Bob, took advantage of the extra seats on the bus to join the trip.

She said the kids were great, the tour was fantastic and it was “so much fun to travel with them.”

The couple's daughter, Natalie, graduated last year so they still know some of the parents and kids.

“I really enjoy the New York trip with our seniors every year. Just watching their eyes light up when they see Broadway for the first time is amazing. The maturity of our students and how they care for one another also amazes me,” Collins said.

Kelly Vernon is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-547-5722 or