Band-a-rama hon­ors vet­er­ans

Porterville Recorder - - FRONT PAGE - By ES­THER AVILA

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

en­joyed to­day.”

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.

RECORDER PHOTO BY CHIEKO HARA

Jim Kusserow di­rects twelve area school bands Satur­day at the an­nual Vet­er­ans Day Frank "Buck" Shaf­fer Band-a-rama at Rankin Sta­dium in Porter­ville.

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