KHS Marching Band

KHS Marching Band
KHS Marching Band

The Kokomo High School Marching Wildkats were one of 27 high school marching bands from around the United States to perform in the National Independence Day Parade in Washington D.C. on a hot 4th of July day.
The Independence Day Parade marked the KHS Marching Band’s third parade performance in 2017 – following appearances in the Indy 500 Festival Parade and the Haynes Apperson Festival Parade. 
The Marching Wildkats performed “A Patriotic Salute” as they marched down Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Street for a street audience of hundreds of thousands of spectators. 
The parade consisted of invited bands, fife and drum corps, floats, military and specialty units, giant balloons, equestrian, drill teams, VIP’s, national dignitaries, and celebrity participants. More than 100 members of the KHS Marching Band made the trip to Washington D.C. to perform in the parade.
Kokomo Schools Director of Bands & Music John Pinson noted it was an experience he, and his Marching Wildkats students, won’t soon forget.
“To march down Constitution Avenue, right next to the National Mall, was exhilarating,” Director Pinson explained. “Seeing the Washington Monument in the background as we played patriotic music for an audience of thousands of people will rank among the best memories I’ll have as a band director. We are proud of how we represented Indiana, Kokomo, and Kokomo High School. I anticipate more opportunities like this to come in the very near future.”
Participating bands are invited to the Independence Day Parade based on recommendations from each state. Kokomo High School was nominated by its Congressional District. Bands must then submit a video recording, photos, and biographical information detailing experience, honors, past adjudication results, and festival ratings to the parade organizers. Marching bands are selected on the basis of overall quality, as well as geographical, ethnic, and stylistic diversity.
While in Washington D.C., the KHS students had the opportunity to learn more about U.S. history, while also experiencing other learning opportunities.

•The students visited the Vietnam and Korean War Veterans memorials, the Lincoln Memorial, and the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, with a guide explaining each of the design elements and the history behind the monuments. 
•The Marching Band members toured the Library of Congress, and had the opportunity to see Thomas Jefferson’s library. During the War of 1812, the British burned the nation’s capitol and the Library of Congress (along with the 3,000 volumes housed inside the library). Thomas Jefferson offered to sell his personal library of more than 9,000 volumes as a replacement, and promised to accept any price for the collection. Congress purchased 6,487 volumes for $23,950. A fire in 1851 destroyed two thirds of the collection, and the Library of Congress has been attempting to reassemble Thomas Jefferson’s library, as it was sold to Congress, since then.
•The KHS students spent an afternoon at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, where they toured his 21-room mansion that has been meticulously restored, stopped to see the breeds of animals raised in Washington’s time (including Ossabaw Island Hogs, Hog Island Sheep, Dominique Chickens, and Red Devon Cattle), paid respects at Washington’s tomb and the slave memorial and burial ground, walked the Potomac River wharf and the gardens on the grounds, and visited the museum and education center.
•Four Marching Band Super Seniors (who graduated from KHS in 2017) had the opportunity to participate in a Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier inside Arlington National Cemetery. All other Marching Band members on the trip were able to watch the ceremony, along with the Changing of the Guard. 
•The KHS students spent time walking through Congressional Cemetery, where they visited the memorial site of Composer John Philip Sousa, “The March King,” who led the U.S. Marine Band for 12 years before starting his own touring civilian band in 1892.
•The Marching Band members watched the dress rehearsal for the televised Capitol Fourth Celebration to see how musicians prepare for a major live event.
•While in Washington D.C., the KHS Marching Wildkats met SSG Matt Evans, a 2004 Kokomo High School graduate. SSG Evans joined the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” in 2015 after earning a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, as well as a second Master’s Degree and a Doctoral Degree from the prestigious Eastman School of Music. SSG Evans answered student questions and offered advice.

“Witnessing students experience our nation’s capital, most for the first time, was so enjoyable,” Director Pinson added. “The questions they asked were amazing. The ability to relate events they have read about, or have seen on TV, to the actual locations where they happened was so interesting. I believe the learning that took place was very impactful. One such location was visiting the grave of American Composer John Philip Sousa. The Kokomo Band performs Sousa’s music annually, and seeing his final resting place and memorial was special. I’ll also never forget the pride I felt as I watched our Kokomo band students lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.”

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