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Buck Shaffer Band-A-Rama continues to impress
A packed-to-capacity crowd at Rankin Stadium cheered in anticipation of the 2012 Veterans Day Buck Shaffer Band-A-Rama. But even before the first band stepped onto the track, excitement appeared to fill the air as the 1,486 students from 15 bands began to march in, one band at a time.
“Buck Shaffer started a tradition that will always live on in Porterville,” said emcee Eric Ball.
And judging by the size of the crowd, Ball said, it continues to be one of Porterville’s most popular and loved events.
“We come every year,” said Sonia Corona as she watched Monache High, and her brother David Renteria playing a snare drum, march in. “It’s my brother’s last year and we’ve been coming every year to watch and support our veterans. I don’t know who we’ll come out for next year but we won’t miss it. We’ll be here.”
Her younger sister will not be marching in high school for two years but that will not keep them away in the interim, Corona, a former MHS band member and a 2007 MHS graduate.
With the Sierra Nevada as a backdrop, Scout Troup No. 132 walked in with a large American flag, stopping first in front of the stands for the Pledge of Allegiance, before
parading it around the track.
Then, one by one, the bands began their time in the spotlight, marching in and taking a place on the grass, until the field looked like a kaleidoscope of color.
“This song tells a lot about the history of our nation,” said Jim Kusserow, director of the Porterville Panther Band, and conductor of the mass band, after the entire group played the National Anthem and began to play “America.”
The patriotic music continued, with majorettes and twirlers from all of the school bands, and from the community, spinning and twirling to the music of the U.S. Navy’s “Anchors Aweigh” and to the U.S. Marines’ Hymn.
“It’s really neat. This is my first time here,” said Samantha Anderson of Reedley, who was invited by a friend who had a niece and nephew in the bands. “This is well put together and really great.”
The mass concert continued with the U.S. Army, the U.S. Airforce and other favorite patriotic numbers, including “Abide with me,” — a number honoring the soldier who never came home.
“These kids out here are from fifth grade to seniors in high school,” Kusserow said as the group prepared to play ‘Promotion March.’ “They have never played this music in a group before. Yet we ask them to come and play as one big band. They do it with style and grace — and on a beautiful day God has made just for this event. And they do it for those who matter the most — our veterans.”
Sitting directly in front of the bands was Don Dowling, chairman of the Veterans Homecoming Committee.
“We as veterans are grateful and thankful to Porterville for supporting us and in showing us a good time today,” Dowling said after thanking the band, Kusserow, the directors, veterans and school districts.
Reigning over the ceremonies was the 2012 Veterans Day Queen and Miss Porterville Anna Moore will arrive with her royal court — Madison Rice, senior princess; Dayna Breland, first princess; Camille Manning, second princess; and Courtney Hall, third princess.
The program began with a preshow by the Orosi High School Band and ended with half time show presentations by Cesar Chavez, Granite Hills, Monache and Porterville high school bands.
“It’s a way to honor our veterans and our country,” said Strathmore High School Drum Major Matthew Nguyen. “It’s an honor to be able to do that in a parade and in this Band-A-Rama.”
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.