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District 833 Marching Band performs in Hawaii

The South Washington County Marching Band, made up of 125 student musicians from Woodbury, East Ridge and Park high schools, spent their Thanksgiving Break in Oahu, Hawaii to pay tribute to the many brave men and women who served our country at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Directors Brent Comeau, Tark Katzenmeyer, Tom Storm, and Branden Steinmetz have been working hard to make the trip a reality for the last two years. Students fundraised, and rehearsed throughout the summer and in the evenings during the first trimester to prepare for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

During their time in Hawaii, students performed on the deck of the USS Missouri, the ship where the Instrument of Surrender was signed to end World War II. They were also one of 30 mainland bands who performed in the Waikiki Holiday Parade on the evening of Friday, November 25 to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor.

The Waikiki Holiday Parade is held each year to honor veterans and survivors of the Pearl Harbor attacks. Students carried a special banner to honor the survivors of the USS Raleigh, CL-7 during the parade, and then performed a number of patriotic songs on the deck of the USS Missouri soon after.

The USS Missouri is permanently docked at Pearl Harbor and is historically significant for being the ship that the Articles of Surrender to end World War II were signed upon. The students performed the Navy Hymn Eternal Father Strong to Save, The Star Spangled Banner, all five service branch songs, and several patriotic marches while on the Missouri. 

Woodbury High School trumpet player Simon Miller played Taps to honor the fallen service members from Pearl Harbor. Band members even laid a wreath in the waters around the USS Arizona to commemorate and honor fallen troops.

“The students, through their preparation, performance, and respectful demeanor really showed a great deal of appreciation for the sacrifices of the men and women who served our nation at Pearl Harbor and beyond,” said Woodbury High School Band Director Tark Katzenmeyer. “I was very proud of the dignity and reverence they brought to their performance at Pearl Harbor.”

The students’ visit to Oahu also offered opportunities to learn about Polynesian culture at the Polynesian Cultural Center, see beautiful nature at the Diamond Head National Monument and Pali Lookout, and to take in the beach on Thanksgiving Day.  Students visited the Dole Pineapple Plantation, enjoyed local Hawaiian cuisine, and had some free time to explore the historic streets of Waikiki. Students even had the chance to snorkel with sea turtles.

Ultimately, students gained an experience that they will remember for a lifetime by paying tribute to the many men and women who have served our country.