As part of their 2010 senior/band trip, the students at Stafford (Kan.) High School chose to visit the WSU plane crash memorial in Colorado on I-70, and on May 14, the Stafford High School Band played a memorial concert at the site as a tribute to those who died in the WSU plane crash.
As part of the annual trip, the band gives a special concert relevant to their destination. One of their previous destinations was Oklahoma City where the students held a memorial concert at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, the former site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
The idea for the WSU memorial concert came from Stafford senior Jordan Hildebrand. The idea was a surprise to Steve Gill, band and vocal music teacher, since the students were not even born when the tragedy occurred.
Gill contacted Carmen Hytche, director of special events at WSU, in early 2010 to collect some background information. Hytche worked with the WSU School of Music to get sheet music for the WSU Fight Song and the WSU Alma Mater. To gain more insight, members of the band watched the documentary “Black & Gold: Remembering the WSU Plane Crash” produced by KPTS Channel 8, Wichita’s public television station.
The students planned the program and it was meaningful experience for them, said Gill. The band placed a sunflower wreath at the memorial site with the inscription “Gone but Not Forgotten, Stafford Trojans remember the WSU Shockers.”
After the memorial concert, the students finished their trip in Denver with visits to Elitch Gardens and Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. They also attended a Rockies game.
Stafford, Kan. is on Highway 50 west of Hutchinson.