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Students anticipate upcoming performances in Veterans Day Parade, Pearl Harbor

Annabelle Messer | The Feather Online

Band students (from left to right) Tryphena Gunawan, ’24, and Rachel Martin, ’24, helped to fundraise for the band’s upcoming Hawaii trip through the Daddy Daughter Date night last year.

Leaving for Hawaii this November, the band, percussion, and color guard team prepare to set off for their upcoming Hawaii trip, Nov. 20-25, and perform in Fresno’s 100th Veterans Day Parade, Nov. 11.

Lesley Bannister, six year campus band teacher, is preparing to fly to Oahu with 30 students and 18 parents. 

“I can not wait!,” Bannister said. “We have been planning and fundraising for almost two years, and it’s going to be an incredible experience. I think it is so meaningful that so many parents are wanting to come along with us.”

Bannister, along with her students, held multiple fundraisers to help pay for the trip. Making more than they needed, they are now able to cover the cost of instrument rentals and baggage fees. 

“We were able to raise quite a bit of money over the last 18 months,” Bannister said. “All of the final payments were made in September. We also have raised money to cover the costs of instrument rentals and airline oversize baggage fees for some of the larger instruments.” 

Color guard performer, Shauna Howard, ’20, participated in the various fundraisers to help raise money for the upcoming Hawaii trip. Howard explains some of the fundraisers she and other students participate in. This includes Eagle Fest, Daddy Daughter Date Night and Mother Son Date Night.

“I’ve participated in Eagle Fest, both Daddy Daughter Date Nights, and the Mother Son Date Night, Howard said. They’ve been fun. For Eagle Fest, we got to run the face paint booth and the first Daddy Daughter Date Night was 50s-themed. At the Mother Son Date Night, we got to see the Polynesian Club of Fresno perform. They did some really cool tricks with fire and it was pretty exciting.”

Lindsay Weimer | The Feather Online

FC band, Eagle band and percussion students performed in their patriotic-themed fall concert, Nov. 7.

Now that they are now done raising money, Bannister explains some of the best selling fundraisers so far, with the Eagle Fest and the Daddy Daughter Date Night being at the top.

“Eagle Fest and the Daddy Daughter Date Night are our biggest fundraisers and also a really fun way for our students to earn money while helping strengthen our Fresno Christian Community,” Bannister continued.

Percussion performer, Sanjay Stephen, ’24, shares his view on performing in Pearl Harbor during this upcoming Hawaii trip.

“This performance could be different because it is a bigger performance,” Stephen said. “We are performing in front of a lot more people in Pearl Harbor so it’s a bigger deal because it’s a really big concert, but it shouldn’t affect the way we play.”

For six days, Bannister and students will be staying at the Waikiki Beachcomber, Nov. 20-25. Performing three times, students will put on a show to songs such as “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen and “Amazing Grace”.

“We will be in Hawaii for six days and we will staying at the Waikiki Beachcomber right across from the famous Waikiki Beach,” Bannister said. “The hotel has recently been completely redone and looks amazing. We will be performing three times, at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, at the University of Hawaii, and at the main stage at the Ala Moana Shopping Center.”

Selah Draper talks to Shane Philips about her three-year commitment to FC band and trip to Hawaii in the following podcast.

Selah Draper, ’22, practices playing the alto saxophone at home and in class with her fellow band students. Explaining her way of practicing, Draper shares that you should always warm up before really getting into the songs.

“I’ve actually been practicing at least four to five times a week trying to perfect things, but I think after this week I should be pretty good and solid on the songs,” Draper said. “We practice with some scales to warm up with, and I practice this way because with your instrument, if you just go straight to the basics and just start playing the song, your instrument is not warmed up enough to fully play the way you want to, you want to warm up first. Kind of like you want to stretch out everything so you don’t cramp up.”

Lindsay Weimer | The Feather Online

Director of the instrumental department, Lesley Bannister along with assistant director, David Casuga, helped organize the band’s upcoming trip to Hawaii.

Bannister, along with many other students who will be attending, start to prepare for this trip as it begins to approach. Bannister arranged this trip and set up fundraisers with the help of assistant director, David Casuga

“Mr. Casuga and I have spent countless hours planning and executing fundraisers, working on the trip logistics and details,” Bannister said. “We listening through tons of  music to make our performance selections. He has been a tremendous help in this process and I am so thankful to have such an incredible assistant director.”

Campus instrumental students will be marching in Fresno’s 100th Annual Fresno Veterans Day Parade, leading Division II, Nov. 11. Catch up with them before they step off at Inyo and Broadway streets, near Chukchansi Park.

Fresno’s parade is the largest in the United States and this year the theme is patriotism, honoring all branches of the military. Dan Payne, retired U.S. Marine Corps, is the lead grand marshal. Speakers begin at 10 a.m. in front of City Hall, 2600 Fresno St. The FC band, color guard and percussion will perform the parade and marching begins at 11:11 a.m., Nov. 11.

For the first time, food vendors will be at the parade and parade “swag” will be on sale. For last year’s parade story, read 99th annual Fresno Veterans Day Parade spotlights Air Force.

For more articles, read FC band presents ‘The Music of Disneyland’, ClovisFest draws thousands to Old Town Clovis, unites community, Oct. 26-27, and 99th annual Fresno Veterans Day Parade.

Shane Philips can be reached via email. 

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