Pahrump Valley High School band heading to Pearl Harbor

Pahrump Valley High School Music Instructor Michael Wineski was still beaming on Monday as he spoke about an upcoming trip to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, along with more than two dozen of his band students later this year.

The assemblage was invited to perform during the upcoming 77th anniversary of the Battle of Pearl Harbor.

Wineski’s outward cheer came just days after the governing board for the town of Pahrump allocated $30,000 for costs associated with the trip, scheduled for early December.

A bit of apprehension

Wineski was joined by six students at the board’s meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 21.

“We are very, very grateful, but I was also very nervous coming into that meeting,” he said. “It’s a big deal because that is a big chunk of change which will cover the student’s airfare and other related costs, so that helps us out tremendously. Again, I was a bit nervous going in because I really didn’t know what to expect. We always like to have high hopes though.”

At present, the headcount of students making the trip to Pearl Harbor is 34.

A great honor

Wineski said the high school band department was invited to perform at the annual Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade.

“The trip will be from December 5th through December 9th,” he said. “It was a great honor just to be nominated for this event. The principal here and veterans within our community nominated us to the program. They go through a committee and the committee then notified me. We are one of 12 high school marching bands around the country that were invited to go on this trip. In fact, I believe we are the only high school in Nevada who was invited to attend this special event.”

Though just being nominated was an honor, according to Wineski, the school’s music department has to pay their own airfare so make the trip.

That’s when Nye County Commissioner Dan Schinhofen got involved.

Help is on the way

Schinhofen noted that car washes and bake sales were not enough to generate the estimated $80,000 to cover the costs.

The commissioner also made certain to note that the funds did not come from Nye County monies.

“It was not the Nye County commissioners who approved this item, but it was the governing board for the town of Pahrump,” he said. “It was a Pahrump action involving Pahrump monies, so I think it’s important to separate when we are doing something with county funds, as opposed to town funds and this was indeed town funds. It was not a tough decision at all among the governing board members. At times my board makes me very, very proud.”

As a longtime singer, songwriter and musician, Schinhofen said he was compelled to act once he caught wind of the band department’s fundraising woes.

Positive responses

As a result, the commissioner reached out to several area businesses in an effort to gain additional support.

“I sent out letters and emails to a lot of our local businesses that I know are very charitable and love the town,” Schinhofen said. “I got a very good response from those businesses, who are in the marijuana industry. Businesses all the way up in Tonopah and all the way down here at the Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch have also donated. There are a few more businesses that I have yet to hear back from, but the initial group of businesses donated a combined total of $20,000. My mother always told me that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. I have always been willing to ask, and I’m not asking for me. I’m asking for this group.”

All in

Additionally, Schinhofen said all of the governing board members agreed to help fund the trip, along with a few comments from the public, during the meeting.

“It was a unanimous vote with the sitting governing board of the town of Pahrump,” he said. “When it was time for public comment, one person came up and asked why we couldn’t fund the justice court but we can spend money on a school trip. Another fellow was wondering whether they would have the opportunity to take some time to learn about the history of Pearl Harbor. He was assured that the students would.”

Looking forward/looking back

Wineski, meanwhile, agreed the trip will certainly be a learning experience for the students and himself.

“This is not a vacation, but more of a special ceremony observing the 77th anniversary of the World War II attack on Pearl Harbor,” he said. “The attack is also known as the Battle of Pearl Harbor, which compelled the U.S. to enter the war. Right now, I’m not specifically sure exactly where the parade will be held, but obviously, it’s in Pearl Harbor, and we are really looking forward to it and learning more about its history. I just want to say again, thank you to the town of Pahrump for giving us this opportunity and believing in us. The kids are very, very grateful, but they were also a little bit nervous before going into the meeting.”

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at On Twitter: @pvtimes

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