Metro high school band returns home after performing ceremonies remembering D-Day in France

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- An Overland Park high school band is home Saturday after performing in ceremonies overseas remembering D-Day.

It was a homecoming full of hugs and signs that pulled on your heartstrings. Emma Schinstock and twin sister Abagail were part of the more than 130 band members at Blue Valley North invited to perform in France.

Emma's mom, Bethany Scheppele, was a chaperone, too.

"At first I didn't want her to come because you know she's my mom, but I don't think that it would have been nearly as fun without her," Schinstock said.

"I think the kids are going to remember this for the rest of their lives," Scheppele said.

These Mustangs went sight seeing - visiting monuments and cathedrals, but say nothing compared to performing on the anniversary of D-Day under a man who was there 75 years ago to the day.

"We were honoring the people who died for us and helped us," Schinstock said.

"To play for him in that setting is not something we can recreate here. That's a unique once in a lifetime experience," Band Director Dan Freeman said.

Freeman said this trip perfectly linked history and music. Students  played their instruments for World War II veterans on Omaha Beach in Normandy, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower and at the American Cemetery.

"They came up to us and  they would say thank you for doing this and it was just an amazing experience," Schinstock said. "It made me feel grateful to them and to the band for letting me go on this trip."

"They're already feeling that connection, but I think it's going to be some time as they understand just how powerful that connection was and how important it was to interact with history that way," Freeman said.

As for an encore performance: "Where it is next I don't know," Freeman said, "We'll see what opportunity arises."

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