The trek was long, and what seemed like a mountain to climb was conquered, and at the finish line, were feelings of accomplishment and success.
Some 30 students from the Pahrump Valley High School’s marching band, along with just over a half-dozen parents and of course high school music teacher Michael Wineski, and others, took a journey that some have called a once-in-a-lifetime event: playing at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade.
The band traveled to Hawaii in early December to play in the event that commemorates the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
Theoret Everson, a sophomore at Pahrump Valley and clarinet player, recalls the highlight of her trip — seeing Pearl Harbor. The trip was filled with nonstop activity, she said.
“My favorite part was that and seeing the ships, because that’s what I wanted to go there for, was to see Pearl Harbor,” Everson said.
Theoret’s mother, Amanda, said a banner depicting the USS Nevada, which was damaged during the attack, was given to the students in commemoration of their visit.
The tireless work that the band put into the effort to get to Pearl Harbor, working to raise more than $80,000 for the group to get the chance to play in Hawaii, continued throughout their travel to Pearl Harbor. Nye County commissioners, sitting as the town of Pahrump, gave $30,000 for the trip; many businesses and the community came together to raise the remaining tens of thousands of dollars.
The group left at 4 a.m. on Dec. 5 on the first leg of the trip to San Francisco. Amanda said there was a delay at McCarran International Airport that morning, and there was a short period of worry whether the group would make it to their connecting flight on time in the Northern California airport; but they did make it.
“The very next day they did a practice, and that’s when we went to Pearl Harbor, and they played for the USS Missouri,” Amanda said.
On the day of the parade, Dec. 7, the band got up early and practiced for three hours, Amanda said.
“That was the day they marched down the main road, right next to the ocean,” she said.
After taking a short break from practicing, the band headed over to perform for some of the remaining survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor. They also played with the Marine Corps.
“A couple of the kids were lucky enough to meet the survivors from Pearl Harbor, and they got a big banner; it said the USS Nevada,” Amanda said.
Meeting the survivors was also memorable for Theoret: “That was one of the best parts too because when will you meet them again?” she said.
Hard work did pay off for the band.
“Our band does care, and we worked hard to get to where we did get,” Theoret said. “It really did pay off.”
Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at firstname.lastname@example.org