Category Archives: South Kitsap High School Marching Band

Tuesday is South Kitsap Band Day in Olympia, Gov. Says

By Chris Henry
Gov. Christine Gregoire has proclaimed Tuesday South Kitsap High School Marching Band Day.
Gregoire signed the proclamation Jan. 8 in honor of the band’s performance in the 2010 Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif.
South Kitsap was chosen in October, 2008 from among more than 60 applicants for the opportunity to play in the Rose Parade. This year, there were 16 slots open to applicants.
An estimated one million people each year line the streets of Pasadena to watch the 5 1/2-mile parade, and Tournament of Roses officials claim millions more watch the show around the world, with broadcasts in 217 countries.
Band Director Gary Grams, who marched as a student in the 1991 Tournament of Roses Parade with the Wyoming High School All-State Centennial Marching Band, wanted his students to be able to share the experience. The students practiced intensively from midsummer on, including calisthenics to prepare themselves for the parade.
Grams will travel to Olympia next month for a ceremonial signing of the proclamation.

Proclamation for SKHS Marching Band 2010

SK Has Competition from Kingston in Battle O’ Bands

Members of the South Kitsap High School Marching Band, resting on their laurels after a marathon performance in the 2010 Rose Parade, may want to take note of some competition on the horizon in their own backyard.

The Kingston High School Buccaneer Marching Band is proving itself a force to be reckoned with. The band, formed three years when the high school opened, has entered the annual Battle of the Bands, sponsored by KZOK and The Rock Wood-Fired Pizza & Spirits. As of Thursday, they were in sixth place in the preliminary round of the contest, involving online voting via text messages.

The top 10 bands will be determine by online voting — up to 10 text messages per phone per day are allowed. The winner will be chosen Feb. 5 by a panel of judges. South Kitsap and Kingston are among 33 Washington high schools competing for a chance to win $10,000. The runner-up band wins $5,000. The band that shows the most spirit and effort will earn $2,500.

If I’m not mistaken, Kitsap County is unique in having two bands in the contest.

Let’s look at how things have gone so far for South Kitsap in the Battle of the Bands. Year One, 2008: The band is among the finalists and its performance of a medley of Beatles tunes, including “Magical Mystery Tour,” is included on a CD from the contest. Online voting that year was disrupted by a hacker. Year two, 2009: South Kitsap wins the popular vote hands down, but the panel of judges picks Liberty High School as the winner, placing SK third. That $10,000 would have so come in handy for the Rose Parade trip. Sign band director, Gary Grrrrrams.

This year, South Kitsap is at the top of its game, with a video performance of Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a bad Name,” the same song they played block after block at the Rose Parade. Kingston, meanwhile, has stepped out with their video version of “Radar Love” by Golden Earring.

Check out both videos below, then exercise your rights as a citizen of the United States of Kitsap. Text to 24300. If you favor South Kitsap, vote rock28 (no spaces, hyphens etc). If you’re rooting for the underdog, Kingston, type in rock10. Or split your 10 votes per day. Heck, I don’t care. But whatever you do, show your Kitsap colors. After all, we are THE Washington hotbed of bands that rock. No?

South Kitsap High School – “You Give Love a Bad Name”

Kingston High School Band – “Radar Love”

Video: SK Band at Bandfest 2010

The South Kitsap High School Marching Band performed at Bandfest 2010 on Dec. 30 at Pasadena City College.

This video was made available to the Kitsap Sun by Farmer’s Insurance, an official supporter of the Tournament of Roses. Notice at the beginning, the announcer gives props to local Farmer’s agent Brain Horch. Working with the Washington state office, Horch orchestrated a dodgeball tournament called “Dodge for Roses” that raised $3,900 for the band’s trip.

Chris Henry, reporter

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Comparing Television Coverage of SK Band in Rose Parade

I got an e-mail (below) from former Kitsap Sun reporter and Road Warrior blogger Travis Baker, on television coverage of the South Kitsap High School Marching Band in the Rose Parade New Year’s Day in Pasadena. It seems the amount of air time they got varied quite a bit from station to station.

I’d love to hear from other readers about what they saw on different channels.

I do know South Kitsap’s band got a pretty good spot on KTLA, one of the major networks in Los Angeles. Meegan and I were eating lunch in a restaurant after the parade, and I happened to catch the segment on the SK Band, broadcast obviously not in real time. They had about two to three minutes of video of the band from various angles, various sections, with brief but glowing commentary. They noted it was South Kitsap’s first trip to the Rose Parade. The announcer talked about their connection to the Beatles (the band’s performance of a Beatles medley, including “Magical Mystery Tour” was part of a CD from The Rock Wood Fired Pizza/KZOK Battles of the Bands II in 2009), and she said, “We love this band.”

Here’s what Travis had to say:
“I don’t know if the following would be the source of a follow-up story, and I’m not even sure I’m correct, as I was recording both the ABC and NBC Rose Parade telecast, and jumping back and forth between them live, then went to Hallmark at 10 p.m. after the first two terminated the parade telecast to shown football and hockey.
Hallmark’s telecast was the same one shown live on Travel at 8 a.m. Hallmark was the best bet, as it went to a rather long run of commercials whenever a band appeared, then picked it up where they left off after the commercials, so no part of the parade was missed.
SK’s Band got good exposure on Hallmark. I don’t know whether Travel was able to do the same thing, but I don’t see how it could. Live coverage required skipping whatever parade entrant went by during commercials.
Anyway, the SK band got about the same brief exposure as all the bands on NBC. But it appeared to me that ABC stiffed SK entirely by going to a commercial when they were passing by.
If I’m right, anyone relying on just ABC to see the SK band would have been disappointed. ABC’s telecast was superior to NBC’s in other regards, as it profiled a lot of the floats rather than just talking about them as they passed.
Unfortunately, I deleted the ABC recording before I checked.

The video on your Web site was terrific. Do you know if there was more than one shooter or did the only one race around to get the band from both sides?”

Travis, in answer to your question, the shooter was me, and yes, we did have to hoof it from our place in the media grandstand at the beginning of the parade to catch up with the band at the end. We walked the side streets, glancing over nervously from time to time, wondering if the band was ahead of us or behind us. At one point, I recognized a couple of the floats going by and realized we were ahead of South Kitsap. I also saw some people sitting on top of RVs to watch the parade. I asked one guy if I could climb up to film the band, but he turned me down. The second family I asked said “sure!” So I sat 14 feet high with their delightful grandkids (one of whom is featured in th video) and had a completely unobstructed view, no other videographers jostling my elbows. Meegan and I figured that, by the time we got from the start of the parade to the end, we had walked somewhere between 6 and 8 miles, including the mileage we put in maneuvering around the crowds.

Chris Henry, reporter

Of Horse Poop and Brass Spit

From the past two posts and a couple of phone calls I’ve had with blogger/band groupie Kathryn Simpson, it’s apparent the band is burning the candle at both ends. Glad to hear they’re hanging in there and sounding brassy as ever.

Speaking of brass, anyone who’s ever played a brass instrument knows that the process generates a considerable amount of spit. Before the band left for L.A., I was chatting with drum major Paulla Santos, and I asked her what brass players will do about that during the parade. I know from watching my husband play French horn that occasionally, when there’s a break in the music, he pulls one of the little valve thingys off and dumps the built up saliva out of the horn. But you can’t very well do that while marching along. It just wouldn’t look dignified.

Paulla told me that marching band instruments have spit valves for on-the-go dumping. The player just flips the valve and out it goes. Which got me thinking, there are 23 bands in the parade, most with 200+ members. Granted not all are brass players but, still there’s got to be hundreds of little showers of spit raining down on the streets of Pasadena every few minutes.

I asked my husband to estimate how much spit he thought would be generated in over the four hours of the parade. He guessed 10 gallons. I wonder if the Tournament of Roses folks have that statistic handy anywhere.

Oh, well, I’ve obviously had way too much time to think about this parade.

Speaking of which, Paulla and I also discussed horse poop. The band leaders got a Power Point from the Tournament of Roses folks detailing protocol for all sorts of situations. The Rose Parade, unlike other parades, doesn’t include stops (handy for scooping up horse poop). Things just keep moving along without a lot of opportunity to scoop, so if said poop falls in an inconvenient place, bands just have to power on through it. I’m sure, if that does happen, they’ll handle it with grace.

Chris Henry, reporter

P.S. Kitsap Sun photographer Meegan Reid and I are at the airport ready to fly to L.A. and meet up with the band this afternoon in Santa Monica.

Some Bands Travel Far, Overcome Obstacles to March in Rose Parade

South Kitsap High School Marching Band is one of 22 bands chosen to perform New Year’s Day in the 2010 Rose Parade.

South Kitsap High School Band
South Kitsap High School Band

The band will play a field show at Bandfest, the Tournament of Roses’ showcase of Rose Parade musicians. Bandfest extends over two days, with three shows. South Kitsap is scheduled to play at 2 p.m. today (Dec. 30) at Pasadena City College.

South Kitsap will represent the Northwest region in the Rose Parade. Also from the Northwest, the Oregon Marching Band is included since the University of Oregon Ducks will be playing in the Rose Bowl Game.

Bands come from all over the country and from abroad. Some are invited back year after year. The Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Band, for example, has played in the parade for 90 years. South Kitsap was among more than 60 bands competing for 16 audition slots in the parade.

International bands in this year’s parade include one from Japan, the Kansai Honor Green Band of Kyoto, and the Latin Band Pedro Molina from Guatemala (see video at bottom of post).

As far as size goes, South Kitsap is, as drum major Paulla Santos says, “a little fish in a big pond.” With 109 members, they are less than half the size of most bands, which typically have 200 members or more. The largest, to the best of my knowledge, is the Los Angeles Unified School District band, with 358 members.

The smallest band in the parade is the Ohio State School for the Blind Marching Band with 68 members total, including 13 brass, 13 percussion, 11 woodwinds, 2 banner carriers, 29 marching assistants, sighted individuals who march alongside band members. These marching assistants range in age from junior high through grandparents ages. All are volunteers.

The instrumental music program at the publicly funded school had been dormant for 13 years, when Carol Agler, now music director, joined the staff in 1998. She discovered the band instruments in storage and petitioned to revive the program. Agler, who has been a driving force behind creation of the band, is listed as assistant director. Dan Kelley, a trumpet player who has been blind from birth, is the band director.

Band members learn their music using a computer program called SmartMusic that allows them to hear their parts individually or with the band as slowly as they choose. Many of the band members have “perfect pitch,” meaning they can identify any pitch they hear. They work independently with SmartMusic to learn their music. Others read enlarged music or Braille music as they use SmartMusic.

Their entry information includes the following statement:
“The Rose Parade provides an opportunity to demonstrate to the WORLD what incredible musicians blind and visually impaired students can be, and to provide a model for other programs and students. We hope to give visually impaired students the imagination and tools to reach their full potential. We hope other band directors will follow our lead and readily include visually impaired students in their marching bands.”

Latin Band Pedro Molina, Guatemala, from YouTube

Chris Henry, Kitsap Sun Reporter

A long but amazing first day.

So we woke up early. When I say we, I mean all of the band kids. It finally hit me when we were taking our tour of LA. The Rose Parade is such a big deal here and I am so excited for showing the people what our band is made of. As soon as we stepped of the plane, we were whisked away on a day long bus tour. We explored farmers market and then adventured through people-packed Hollywood. After taking tons of pictures we headed to the Pacific Palms Resort where after getting acquainted with our rooms, had dinner and now its almost time for bed. Tomorrow we explore Disneyland and watch fireworks to end our day.

SK Band Members Play Tourist in Hollywood

The South Kitsap Marching Band arrived in Los Angeles today for several days’ visit before playing in the Rose Parade New Year’s Day.

With some time to kill before checking into their hotel, the band hit the streets of Hollywood. The district northwest of downtown L.A. is the historical center of television and movie making. Although filming has expanded to other L.A. suburbs, and other cities around the U.S. and Canada, the word “Hollywood” is still used to represent the American film industry.

Hollywood Sign
Hollywood Sign

Attractions include the iconic Hollywood sign, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a tribute to stars past and present.

Here’s some information on Hollywood from Wikipedia:
In the early 1900s, motion picture production companies from New York and New Jersey started moving to California because of the reliable weather.

In early 1910, director D. W. Griffith was sent by the Biograph Company to the west coast with his acting troop, including Lillian Gish, Mary Pickford, Lionel Barrymore, and others. They started filming on a vacant lot near Georgia Street in Downtown Los Angeles. The Company decided to explore new territories and traveled several miles north to a little village called “Hollywood.” Griffith filmed the first movie ever shot in Hollywood called “In Old California”, a melodrama about Latino/Mexican-occupied California in the 1800s.

Biograph remained in Hollywood for months and made several films before returning to New York, where word of mouth drove many movie-makers west. Hollywood soon became the movie capital of the world.

The famous Hollywood Sign originally read “Hollywoodland”. Erected in 1923 to advertise a new housing development in the hills above Hollywood, it was left to deteriorate for some years. In 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce stepped in, offered to remove the last four letters and repair the rest. The same organization also manages the venerable Walk of Fame.

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The Final Stretch

My family asked me many times what I wanted for Christmas and every time I told them that I didn’t really want anything, and it took about a week to realize that what I really wanted for Christmas I was already getting. I was getting the opportunity of a life time, and I get to experience it with some of my best friends. All of that, was what I wanted more than any toy, video game, or movie that I would forget about in two months.

I spent Christmas Eve with my family, and I am pretty sure that every single member of my family gave me a hug and told me that they were proud of me, because of something that the band did. I have to say that it is the greatest feeling knowing that my family is proud of something I helped accomplish. Even though yesterday was Christmas all I could think about was that “we” were leaving for Rose Bowl in two days, and how I wish it was already Sunday, the day we leave.

Tonight I do not expect many of the band kids to actually sleep. It is like when a little kid is so excited for some event that is going to happen the next day he or she just can’t sleep. This trip is going to be something I will remember for the rest of my life. Mr. Grams always says “This will be the highlight of your high school career,” and I truly believe that.

Hannah Melcher

Night Before We Leave

Yesterday I never got around to add another blog because of Christmas with family. Of course that didn’t necessarily mean there wasn’t any talk of band. Throughout my whole life, like with other kids, I could never wait for Christmas day to come. Yet, yesterday morning I woke up and the first thing I thought of was Rose Bowl and now there were only two days left. At my grandparents’ place the whole family was proud to here of all the things that the band has accomplished. Just as a side note, i rarely like using the term “MY band.” Regardless of me being drum major, the band does not belong to me. I belong to the band. Mr. Grams has stated to the band that, “Your success, is her success and your failure, is her failure.” We are all one unit and I will never take credit unless they are credited along side me. The only time I will state it as mine is when saying “my band family.” While talking about the band throughout the evening with my family, I begin to get anxious and start missing my band family. Logging onto facebook and noticing many band members posting status updates such as, “Pasadena tomorrow!” “I miss my band family!” and “I can’t wait to see everyone tomorrow!’ just can’t help but make you feel more excited than ever.  These last couple of days I’ve just wanted to get up and go more than anything. Now, I can actually say, “We take off tomorrow.” Here we go South. We’re on our way.

Paulla Santos- Sr. Drum Major