May 21, 2004

More Than a Half Century: A Final Parade and a National Tribute

Bonita Band Students On Their Way to Washington Ceremonies

Bonita Vista band members are taking their next duty—as the only official representatives of California at the World War II Memorial Dedication Ceremonies in Washington, D.C.—very seriously. They have been thinking about those who served more than a half century ago.

The 105 members of the marching band and color guard, also known as Club Blue, will perform a patriotic salute to the Armed Forces during the National Memorial Day Parade and at a concert at Senate Park on the Saturday prior to Memorial Day. They will also play a piece commissioned by music professor, composer and band director Dr. Charles Friedrichs of San Diego State University entitled “Remember the Heroes.”

Under the direction of Neil Anderson, the marching band and color guard have placed in numerous competitions making them among the top 10 competing band programs in the region. They have placed 4th in the prestigious Arcadia Review. Anderson credits the students dedication in striving to produce a quality product.

Bonita Vista senior Brian Mack looks forward to this experience of a lifetime. “I’ve come full circle, from a trip to the Olympics in Australia my first year at BVH to saluting our own country in Washington, D.C.” Brian plays the euphonium, a brass instrument resembling a tuba.

Bonita Vista parents and students will join 2 million spectators for the ceremonies and will tour Washington monuments and other sites, such as the Pentagon. Students representing the Sweetwater District will lay wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A yearlong fundraising effort helped the students pay for the trip—they are shipping their uniforms and instruments as they fly to the Capitol.

Before the plane flight just about two weeks from now, students will play a farewell concert at the Veteran Chula Vista at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 22. Meeting with local veterans has helped bring the significance of the war home for this younger generation. Veterans have talked about the differences among World War II, the Vietnam War and the War on Terrorism. Students have learned about the sacrifices for freedom and discussed the war in their social science classes.

Most recently, Bonita Vista band students said farewell to the final Maytime Band Review, where they took sweepstakes for the eighth straight year. The Maytime Band Review started two years after the end of World War II—57 years ago. The largest marching band parade west of the Mississippi River, Maytime was the county’s oldest and largest parade. Bonita Vista joins history in marking the end of this era, and witnessing the dedication of the first war memorial to the country’s greatest generation—the soldiers and civilians that fought to protect our freedom.

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