Band-a-rama honors veterans
When it comes to honoring veterans with patriotic music, Porterville knows how to do it right — gathering every elementary, middle school and high school musician and auxiliary band member from every local, and some visiting, school bands, and bringing them together for one mass performance dedicated to the men and women who have served, or are currently serving, in the military armed forces.
And that is exactly what they did once again during Porterville’s annual Frank “Buck” Shaffer Banda-rama held Saturday afternoon at Jacob Rankin Stadium at Granite Hills High School. In all, 14 elementary, middle and high school bands, and close to 70 majorettes and twirlers, marched in – one school at a time – before taking their place on the football field.
Pastor Kevin Roach, Porterville First Congregational Church, thanked God for the reason for the celebration, and for the youth and directors on the field.
“Forty-six years ago, Buck Shaffer started this band-a-rama,” said Emcee Don Dowling, and went on to mention the number of band members, auxiliary members, directors and parents on the field. “That’s 1,216 people on the field.”
Starting with “America the Beautiful” and “My Country tis of thee,” the mass band went on to perform
the songs from different branches from the military. As they did, majorettes twirled batons while veterans in the stadium were invited to stand during their song.
“Abide with Me” was also played to honor
all those who paid the extreme sacrifice. The show ended with three more field shows – Granite Hill’s performing Elvis Presley songs, Monache High’s “Pandora’s Box” and Porterville High School playing Beethoven
music, starting with “Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony” and ending with “Ode to Joy” and the band’s high-step march off the field.
“It was fantastic,” said Vietnam veteran Kenn Bovetti. “I really
It was Bovetti’s first time attending the band-a-rama, he said. His friend, Brenda Smith, said it brought back memories of when she marched with Monache High School.
The way Porterville honors and recognizes its veterans is impressive, Bovetti said, and the amount of patriotism in the city has always been tremendous, and not just during Veterans Day, but always.
Jim Kusserow directs twelve area school bands Saturday at the annual Veterans Day Frank "Buck" Shaffer Band-a-rama at Rankin Stadium in Porterville.