AFHS band prepares to play in D.C.


    By Donald Osmond

    The American Fork High School Marching Band will perform in the inaugural parade for President Bush, despite being short of funds.

    Just a few weeks ago the band was invited to represent Utah for the Jan. 20 event, but has since been unable to raise the $150,000 it needed for the trip.

    ?We just transformed a car into cash and got $12,000 out of it,? band director John Miller said, speaking of the donated car from Doug Smith?s Auto. ?The band even got a check for $50 from a Girl Scout troop in Woodscross.?

    The community has been generous with donations, and the band has received many congratulatory remarks through e-mails and phone calls, Miller said.

    Martin Lewis, who volunteered to help fund raise for the band, said the opportunity to perform in D.C. is a great honor. The band, selected out of about 300 applications to march in the parade, has performed well in recent years at each of the Bands of America competitions.

    ?I finally feel good about it,? Miller said in response to the band”s steady improvement during recent weeks.

    The marching band has 210 members, and with the additional 140 chaperones, the group could be their own parade wandering the streets of the capital, he said.

    ?I have got ninth-graders that are participating in this as well,? said Jermie Arnold, assistant band director.

    With all of the preparations that need to be met, Miller said little emergencies still need to be worked out, such as making sure that every student has a uniform that fits.

    The band solved another problem by borrowing instruments from the University of Utah, most of which will be for the percussion section, which is comprised of 25 students.

    Just getting the band to Washington for the event was also quite the task. The band members and their chaperones traveled Tuesday using 30 separate flights.

    Despite all their efforts, the band still had other obstacles to overcome before making the trip to Washington.

    ?After we were informed that we made it, they [parade administrators] sent us an e-mail saying that we could not perform any music of the Armed Forces,? Miller said.

    Instead, the band will play a march medley, which consists of ?The Thunderer,? ?National Emblems? and ?To the Colors.?

    Although the parade is the band?s priority for the trip, they will have a guided tour around the capital from U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

    The students may be out of school, Miller said, but it will still be an educational trip.

    Donations can be made to the Alpine School District Foundation, c/o American Fork Band, 575 N. 100 East, American Fork 84003. For information about donating to the American Fork High School Marching Band, call 801-756-8425.

    Print Friendly, PDF & Email