One week ago today, my students and I had the privilege of ringing in the New Year at the 2015 Sugar Bowl – a trip that would not have been possible without the generous support of COUNTRY Financial.

This was the first band trip for Kelly High School in nearly half a century, and the first time most of our student musicians had ever been to New Orleans, or even out of Chicago.

We had the opportunity to represent our city on a national stage, marching in the New Year’s Eve Sugar Bowl Parade and performing as part of the game’s half-time show. We also got to play alongside some of New Orleans’ famed street musicians, and participated in an epic concert on the steps of historic Jackson Square. We even led a crowd of Ole Miss fans down Poydras Street in an impromptu parade.

Besides making amazing music with students from around the country, our band members had a chance to really see the city of New Orleans. We explored the World War II Museum and Mardi Gras World, toured Tulane University, and celebrated New Year’s Eve at a lavish Masquerade Ball.
This trip was incredibly uplifting for our students. They were very impressed by Tulane, so maybe some of them will return to New Orleans to study one day. Regardless, I know that the memory of this experience will be with them for the rest of their lives.

Huge thanks to COUNTRY Financial, who helped get our students to the Sugar Bowl and whose partnership over the past two years has led to the purchase of new band uniforms, the creation of a Band Booster Club, and other fundraising efforts that support the Kelly High School music program.

Thanks also to the Kelly High School Band for representing our school, our District and our city with such dignity and grace.

Richard Daily
Fine Arts Department Chairman and Director of Bands
Kelly High School