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Marching band represents Turlock in National Independence Day Parade
PHS band pic1
The Pitman High band is performing in the National Independence Day Parade in Washington D.C. - photo by Photo Contributed

As 4th of July celebrations kick off today across the Valley, 112 local students will be representing Turlock in the National Independence Day Parade in Washington D.C. 

The Pitman High School marching band and color guard achieved its goal by raising $106,000 to participate in the 2012 National Independence Day Parade, allowing 112 students and 31 chaperons to travel to Washington D.C.

The Marching Pride's invitation to perform in the parade was based on recommendations from Gov. Jerry Brown.  Pitman will be one of 10 schools from California attending the parade before an audience of thousands.

“Our students have worked very hard to help raise the money,” said Pitman Band Booster president Jaime Dunn.  “Our volunteer fundraising committee contacted companies, families and other individuals who have supported and shown the importance of music in children’s education.”

A few of the events put together to help raise funds for the trip included a jazz dinner and auction in February; Pitman principal Rod Hollars, athletic director Dave Walls and band director Ruben Modesto joining band students to work at McDonald’s for a day in April; and selling souvenir programs at the Stockton 99 Speedway in May.

“We did about 30 drive-thru fundraisers,” said Modesto. “We sent out thousands of perspectives to the community and we got a lot of support from them.”

The funds raised for the trip covered two coach buses that will transport the students to and from the airport, airline fares, cost of shipping of uniforms and instruments, and hotel accommodations.

“Many of the students had to get their uniforms re-fitted specifically for the trip,” said Dunn.

America’s National Independence Day Parade is an annual celebratory event.  The parade consists of invited bands, fife and drum corps, floats, military and specialty units, equestrian, drill teams, national dignitaries, and celebrity participants.  It is a major national event which seeks to draw attention to the America and the meaning of the holiday.

 “I am very excited that I’m going to be taking part in this trip,” said marching band member Marcelle Winkler last week. “I am most looking forward in spending time with all my band mates.  This will be a wonderful way to kick off my senior year.”