Speaking of SKHS Band and Pearl Harbor

It just keeps getting better for South Kitsap High School Marching Band.

Their tans barely faded from a recent trip to Oahu, where they performed in Pearl Harbor Memorial events, the students were surprised this morning to learn, in an announcement over live radio, that the 143-member ensemble was this year’s $10,000 grand-prize winner of The Rock Wood Fired Pizza and Spirit’s “Schools of the Rock Battle of the Bands,” orchestrated by 102.5 FM KZOK radio and Xfinity.

For the band, the trip to Oahu and the Battle of the Bands prize were the ultimate payoff for years of hard work. The band in 2010 qualified to march in the Rose Bowl Parade, and band director Gary Grams didn’t let it go at that. Some of the current band members are Pasadena alums, but there are many new faces. Grams has brought the new musicians along and kept the bar high.

After making a first recording for the 2011 contest, Grams played it back for his students, talked about how they could improve, and they recorded a second rendition. He then paired some photos of the band from 2010 — including a performance in the Rose Bowl Parade — with the music to make a slide show and sent the entry into the radio station.

“We focused more on the music and less on the video this year,” Grams said.

Grams has posted some photos of the band in Oahu on the school district’s website. Check out this one of a band member and Pearl Harbor survivor.

Courtesy: South Kitsap School District

South Kitsap’s was the only band from Washington State to be invited to participate in the Pearl Harbor 70th Anniversary Memorial. According to the district, 118 students, 4 band directors and 20 other adults traveled to Honolulu for a week of performances and the twilight parade. The band played at Pearl Harbor, visited the Arizona Memorial and practiced at Fort DeRussey Park, “which ended up being a performance with over 200 people sitting on the grass listening to the band practice,” Grams said.

“Besides receiving a history lesson, there were numerous opportunities for the students to learn and gain new insights into the Island/Polynesian culture. A highlight of the trip was a day long excursion to the Polynesian Cultural Center on the windward side of the island.”

And speaking of Pearl Harbor survivors, below is a video showing those from around the nation who made it to Oahu for the commemoration. Before the event, Don Green of Allyn told military reporter Ed Friedrich that he planned to go, so we assume he was among the honorees. The band’s performance is about 12 minutes into the (apparently amateur) video.

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