The Windsor, Colo., Pride of Windsor High School Marching Band performed last December at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. (Courtesy photo)
Colorado high school band plays at Pearl Harbor; France on schedule
All grandparents are proud of their grandchildren, but Grant residents Bill and Carolyn Wright have had some extra bragging rights recently. Their granddaughter, Emily Wright, is a member of Windsor, Colo. High School’s Pride of Windsor Marching Band, which was selected to perform at the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 2016 in Hawaii.
Out of 14 bands selected to perform there, Windsor’s 100-student band won the Grand Champion award for the best performance, and was selected to perform on the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France on June 6, 2019.
Before leaving for Hawaii, the band also received a congressional invitation to perform in the National Independence Day Parade in Washington, D.C. this July 4. Because the event is so soon, they have chosen to forego the opportunity and start raising funds for their trip to France.
Sophomore Emily, daughter of Randy and Heather Wright, is second drum majorette and also plays the saxophone. To prepare for their Pearl Harbor performance and keep the students motivated, each member of the band was given a casualty card with the name, hometown and information of a United States Marine killed during the Dec. 7, 1941 attack.
Emily told her grandmother one of the neatest things from her trip was taking her card and finding the Marine’s name on the wall, and being able to talk with WWII veterans. Rob Darragh, the band’s director, served in the U.S. Marine Corps and performed with the Marine Corps Band.He also serves as a military performance team leader in the Wyoming Army National Guard Band.
The Pride of Windsor Marching Band students must audition to be part of the band, and rehearsals can be grueling. Carolyn Wright said they have a one-week camp and a two-week camp in the summer, where they practice all day, with a break for lunch. While preparing for Hawaii, they had all-day Saturday practices.
Carolyn said the football players would joke and say they were glad they were in football and not band because the band practiced harder than they did. Band members raised funds for the Pearl Harbor trip. Carolyn said the instructor didn’t want the students to just ask family and friends for money, he wanted them to earn it. Emily told her the trip had so much meaning. Being able to tour the ship that the person on her card had been on was just a feeling she would never forget. “We are pretty proud of her,” her grandmother said.