The 2013-2014 marked a milestone in the history of CBHS. Fifty years ago, in the fall of 1963, CBHS quietly became the first racially diverse campus in the Mid-South, with the admittance of African-American student Jesse Turner Jr. This school year also includes other historical milestones: The 150th anniversary of Gettysburg, and the 50th anniversaries of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s March on Washington. It was in the spirit of honoring these significant points in history that the Christian Brothers Band approached its year of performance.
The fall began with the band's performance at the Senior Ring Mass in August and continued with a strong presence on the campus with performances at the Christian Brothers High School Integration anniversary ceremony honoring Jesse Turner, Jr., and the 2013 Affiliation to the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. The Pep Band performed at the football games and traveled to Nashville with the team for the playoff game.
The Historic Band this fall performed proudly at The National Honor Society Induction Ceremony, the Wings Cancer Ride Send Off, Grandparents Day, the Massing of the Colors and they won 1st place in the Memphis Veterans Day Parade. The Concert Band concluded the fall semester with its annual Fall Concert.
The Christian Brothers Band spent their Spring Break on the road. The group went to the Washington DC area to perform their 2014 Capitol Tour. Plans for the trip began in the fall when the band received word that they had been invited to perform at the invitation-only concert at the Kennedy Center.
The band met Congressman Steve Cohen for a tour of the Capitol Building. The Itinerary also included a visit to Ford's Theater to present a framed photograph of Professor Paul Schneider. Schneider, the school's second band director (1882-1892), was a touring musician who performed in Ford's Theater the night President Lincoln was assassinated. Another highlight was attending a performance of the National Symphony and the "illuminated Monuments Tour," a night-time bus tour that took the band to view many of the city's renowned monuments, such as the Jefferson Memorial and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. Additionally, the group attended Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
But the trip was not meant to be just for sightseeing. During their tour, the band performed daily in a variety of venues leading up to their performance at The Kennedy Center. Beginning in Baltimore, Maryland, the group performed in Calvert Hall, on the campus of the first Christian Brothers School established in America. Next the group performed for students of St. Joseph School in Martinsburg, West Virginia. There was also a performance for students at St. Ann School in Arlington, Virginia.
An outdoor performance at the Lincoln Memorial drew a crowd of on-lookers as the Christian Brothers Band performed its program of patriotic tunes. Tourists paused their sightseeing and the emotion of the moment swelled when veterans in wheelchairs and active service personnel in uniform began filling in to hear the concert.
The band performed the concert "Freedom, Liberty, Sacrifice" for a large crowd at the Kennedy center. The works were historically significant opening with "I have A Dream - A tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr." Next was "Elegy for a Young American" which pays tribute to John F. Kennedy followed by "Gettysburg: The Third Day." Following "Gettysburg" was "With Malice Toward None" narrated by Brian Turner (Band Vice-President and son of Jesse Turner, Jr.). The work tells about Lincoln’s life and was altered from its original text to include facts about Christian Brother's integration. The band closed with "Freedom Plus!" by Wayne Oldham and Jack Hale. Hale was a member of the Memphis horns and wrote the march to commemorate Christian Brothers' integration in 1963.
Upon their return to Memphis the band performed at the Re-opening of the National Civil Rights Museum, the Founders Day Mass and finished the year in their new band uniforms at the Annual Spring Concert and Graduation.
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