The Harrison High School Marching Band will travel five time zones and nearly 5,000 miles to represent New York State at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade in Honolulu, HI, on Dec. 7, 2012.
It will be the first time that a New York school participates in the parade, now in its second year, and is a credit to the growth and success of the program, said Charles Briem, the band's co-director.
The parade's committee first noticed Harrison after the band was recognized in two articles in the National Association for Musical Education. The articles profiled the growth and success of the band program.
The one-mile parade route will take the band, majorettes and color guard along the Hawaii coastline to the Waikiki Shell for an evening concert. Top bands from across the United States are selected to participate in the parade, which honors those lost during the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor as well as United States war veterans. This year's parade will specifically commemorate the 50th anniversary of the USS Arizona Memorial, which was dedicated in 1962.
"We are thrilled to death to have the opportunity to do this," Briem said while outlining the trip to the Harrison Board of Education Wednesday evening. The weeklong field trip will include visits to numerous historical sites and Hawaii University. Briem said he also hopes to setup a meeting with WWII veterans who attend the parade.
"This is an opportunity many of our students will never have, to see this 50th state," said Briem. "It's also going to be our last opportunity in many cases to meet these veterans."
The Harrison Board of Education approved the trip, which will be paid for by donations and fundraisers in the months before the trip. The band will leave on Dec. 2 and return Dec. 9.
This is the first time the Harrison marching band has been invited to Hawaii, but the group goes on annual trips to locations like Florida and Chicago every year. Past band trips include a performance or competition, several educational events and a college visit.
The band also represents the school district at parades and ceremonies across the region.