“The town of Taft made this become a reality.”
It’s a go.
All those car washes, barbecues, service club breakfasts, fireworks stand sales and donations from the community have paid off.
The Taft All-Star Band’s hoped-for trip to Washington D.C. has been assured following a fund-raising drive that brought in the $40,000 it will take to send the junior high and high school musicians to the Capitol.
“We’re definitely going,” Lincoln Junior High band director Marlene Mudge told the Taft High School Board of Trustees Monday night.
“We brought in $40,000 through all our fund-raisers,” Amanda Posey, her counterpart at Taft High added. “The town of Taft made this become a reality.”
The band will perform at a number of memorials, attend a band clinic, participate in a wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery and – of course – do some touring.
Mudge outlined the itinerary for the board, beginning with a flight from LAX to D.C. on Nov. 7.
“On Nov. 8 we’ll be at the World War II Memorial to perform and get a tour of the Capitol arranged by Kevin McCarthy,” she said. “On the ninth we’ll have a clinic with the retired conductor of the U.S. Air Force band.”
That will be followed by a performance in front of the Lincoln Memorial and the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
“Our two drum majors will actually get to lay the wreath,” Mudge said, “and, of course, that will be on the day before Veterans Day.”
Mudge and Posey said the band is composed of 20 musicians from Taft High and 17 from Lincoln.
“Not everybody that tried out made it,” Mudge said. “They had to meet all of the requirements in order to go.”
Accompanying the two band directors to the board meeting was Taft High student David Norton, who will begin each of the band’s performances with a drum roll.
“I don’t know what it will be like to do a drum roll in front of the Lincoln Memorial, but I’m going to find out,” Posey said as she introduced Norton.
He said he’s excited to not only perform in Washington D.C., but to take in all of the history the Capitol offers.
“It will be fascinating with all that history of America,” he said, “and to be able to play in front of the Lincoln Memorial and see the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. I don’t even know what to say I’m so excited.”
As part of its preparation for the trip, the band will perform a tribute concert in the Taft High Auditorium on Sept. 11 on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.