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SDSU Symphonic Band plays at Gettysburg, Pa., battlefield

BROOKINGS -- The Fourth of July holiday takes on additional meaning this year, as it coincides with the 150th anniversary of an important battle in the American Civil War. It was Independence Day weekend in 1863, in a field outside of Gettysburg, Pa., when the Army of the Potomac successfully defended Northern soil from a Confederate invasion, a turning point in the North's eventual victory over the South.

Recently, fifty-one student members of the South Dakota State University Symphonic Band learned first-hand about these and other historic events, as part of a performance tour that included stops at the Gettysburg National Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the United States Capitol and Arlington National Cemetery.

The tour provided students who paid a fee to participate, opportunities to perform in front of live audiences, visit historic sites and be part of an experience that illuminated key parts of the nation's history. Their program modeled a successful tour by the SDSU Concert Choir in 2007, designed to bring to life the SDSU Music Department's motto of "Tradition. Excellence. Travel."