Most high school trips to New York City end up including a trip to a Broadway show.
Lake Shore High School seniors David Vogan and Brad Flower wound up being in "Chicago," with David playing on stage as part of a jazz trio during the show.
David, a trumpeter, and Brad, a percussionist, had been invited to sit in with the pit orchestra for the show after a workshop with the show's music director and conductor the previous day at the historic Riverside Church in Harlem.
Sitting in was all they expected, but what they got last Friday went way beyond that. The staging for "Chicago" puts the pit orchestra on the stage at the Ambassador Theatre, so the two were getting a close-up and personal view of the show.
Then, said Lake Shore symphonic and concert band director Eric Blodgett, "At the start of the second act, entr'acte happens, and the trumpet players -- there's two of them -- they're waving this big white feather boa over David's head.
"I'm thinking, 'What are they doing that for?' " said Blodgett. "Well, they were trying to get the entire crowd's attention, and during the entr'acte, both of the show's trumpet players stand up and play a Dixieland solo. They give him a horn, and he gets to stand up and play with them."
The Lake Shore crowd erupted. David said that after the show, the actress playing Roxie Hart told him she had "never played for a crowd like that ever before," with the cast getting a charge from the crowd's rowdy energy.
At least he thinks it was Roxie. He was too busy paying attention to the music to keep a close eye on the show itself.
"It was a really big shock when the conductor pulled me aside and told me, 'You're a really, really good trumpet player, would you like to sit in?' " David said. "Then they told me to stand up and play, with a flugelhorn, when everybody starts standing up during the entr'acte and the end. We just all started playing.
"It was just really cool. I'll never forget it."
The Broadway stop was only part of the weekend for the Lake Shore group, though. A group of 150 musicians, plus 46 adult chaperones and helpers, traveled to the College of Staten Island to play in a music competition.
The symphonic band was entered against schools larger than Lake Shore so it wouldn't have to compete against the concert band at Lake Shore's level. They both captured trophies as best in their classes against schools from California, Oregon, Michigan, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Ontario.
The Lake Shore bands raised $96,000 over two years to pay for the trip, and everything went according to plan, Blodgett said. Except for the trip to Broadway, which went even better than planned.
David, who plans to major in music performance at Buffalo State College next fall, said the atmosphere with the orchestra was loose and relaxed.
"They really didn't need the music at all," David said. "They winged a lot of stuff. It was incredible.
"It's really all about chemistry. I was looking around at people's music, and they have stuff like a picture of SpongeBob SquarePants taped in there, and there was another guy who was reading a magazine and playing trombone at the same time."