Jim Kusserow leads 16 bands in a tireless effort to honor veterans
The 46th annual Veterans Day Frank “Buck” Shaffer Band-A-Rama was successful once again this year as 16 bands, consisting of a total of 1,522 students, performed at Rankin Stadium to honor the veterans who served for their country.
Scout Troup No. 132 carried a large American flag around the football field and stopped in front of the stands for the “Pledge of Allegiance”, led by Veterans Day Chairman Don Dowling.
All of the bands performing marched around the track playing selections of their choice and moved into their designated spots on the field. Pastor Oscar Mayorga from New Hope Church offered the invocation.
Porterville High School Panther Marching Band Director Jim Kusserow directed the mass band. The mass band played the national anthem, “America the Beautiful” and “America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee)”.
The mass band then played the anthems for each of the military branches. “Anchors Aweigh” for Navy, “Marine Corps Hymn” for Marines, “The Army Goes Rolling Along” for Army and “Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder” for Air Force.
After the mass band performance, the Cesar Chavez Titan Band, Granite Hills Grizzly Band, Monache Marauder Band and the Porterville Panther Band performed their individual field shows.
John Pease, 69, an Army veteran who served from 1967-69 said this was his second or third time attending the Band-A-Rama because his grandson plays in the Monache band.
Pease said the show was a nice way to honor veterans and his favorite part was hearing the anthems of the military branches played.
“It kind of makes me feel choked-up,” Pease said. “I also like to see them marching — it reminds me of when they used to try to make us march.”
Julie Martinez, 37, a Reedley native who has moved to Porterville, said she has watched the Band-A-Rama for the past 16 years. She said because she has no loyalty to any of the bands, she likes watching the Band-A-Rama to see which band plays better than the others.
“I like when the bands do their own thing,” Martinez said. “They’re all doing really good. I don’t have any favorites yet.”
Araceli Magdaleno, 17, a senior who plays the tuba in the PHS Panther band, said a lot of hard work and preparation goes into doing the Band-A-Rama. She said band members do night practices and also practice on their own time.
Magdaleno said she likes the fact that the schools come together and unite to honor the veterans and do the show for them. She said the whole day has been tiring, but also satisfying.
“It’s my last year,” Magdaleno said. “I am tired, but I have to give it my best. I’m just sad that marching season’s over.”
Kusserow was honored at the Band-A-Rama for his 26 years as the Panther band director and for all the hard work he did into putting on the show for many years. Magdaleno said she was sad to see Kusserow retire.
“I’m lucky I had him for four years,” Magdaleno said. “It’s so sad seeing him leave and not directing the band. I hope whoever takes over is going to do a great job.”
Band Roll Call
- Porterville High School Panthers Marching Band
- Woodlake High School Tiger Marching Band
- Strathmore Middle School Bulldogs Marching Band
- Summit Charter Collegiate Academy All-Star Band
- Orosi High School Cardinal Band
- Granite Hills High School Grizzly Marching Band
- Cesar E. Chavez High School Band
- Delano High School Band
- Robert F. Kennedy High School Band
- Sequoia School Marching Band and Color Guard
- Strathmore High School Spartan Marching Band
- Monache High School Marauder Marching Band
- Burton Middle School Bulldog Marching Band
- Rockford Elementary Jaguar Band
- Pioneer Mustang Marching Band
- Bartlett Bobcat Marching Band