Tribute to band parents

The parents of Walnut’s Blue Thunder Marching Band lie in the quiet shadows of their children. However, they are an integral part of the school volunteer community.

“Behind the scenes, we try to talk to the district office and different people to spread awareness of the band community. Our biggest accomplishment is probably solely supporting the band. We make bandwiches, we hem the kids uniforms, we chaperone their events; we’re even there when they get hurt. We do our best to get the kids to the events, back, and fed,” mother of senior Wyatt Swift-Ramirez, Christine Swift-Ramirez said.

These parents work to ensure that their kids get the care and financial support necessary to maintain the caliber of the program.

“We love it. It requires more action than you’d expect; it’s almost like a sport because there are so many competitions. They go to football games, they have parades, and a lot of practices . It’s a lot of work,” mother of junior Frederico Lassalle, Karina Lassalle said.

Most of these parents begin their involvement in the program through their children or because of a pre-existing history as a parent volunteer. However, they continue this work not out of obligation but rather out of the sense of unity that the band community creates.

“Last year, I saw so many parents working and helping the kids that I wanted to become involved. When you see all that, they make you want to be involved. By doing something for my kid, I’m doing something for all of the other kids, too,” Mrs. Lassalle said.

This year, the theme of the annual field show competition for the band is the “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Through a two month long process, the parents designed, prepared and assembled a rendition of the ship from the movie.

“Some weekends I would have almost 20 people at my house, all helping to build the boat. We all worked together as a machine, contributing hours of our free time away from work dedicated to completing the ship,” Mrs. Lassalle said.

Although each parent has a distinct role, they all function together, relying on one another to keep the program going. When asked about their fellow volunteers, each of the parents referred back to the importance or dedication of another parent.

“It’s all about teamwork; the parents have a great team. Hopefully that teamwork will show the kids examples of a leader, of a team, and will act as a form of guidance [for them] in the future. Band teaches students how to work together as a whole, which makes a big difference in life,” mother of sophomore Justin Lau, Janet Lau said.

By Michelle Feng, Staff writer

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