Monday, December 27, 1999



By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Above, the French horn section marched in time on the practice field
at Pearl City High School. Students were rehearsing for the
Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year's Day
in Pasadena, Calif.

Pearl City
band off to 2000
Rose Parade

'It's an experience of a lifetime'
for students, who can be seen and
heard marching on
New Year's Day

By Crystal Kua


TARA Tomoyasu was in the eighth grade when she and her family accompanied her brother's band to the Tournament of Roses Parade in 1996.

She watched the performance awe and vowed someday to be marching with that band. "I wanted to be a conch shell blower," Tomoyasu remembered.

On New Year's Day, Tomoyasu will get her wish fulfilled and then some.

Now a 17-year-old senior, Tomoyasu will be heading back to Pasadena, Calif., as a drum major to lead the 200-plus Pearl City High School Charger Marching Band on New Year's Day in the granddaddy of parades.

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Field commander Jordan Cantiberos and drum major
Tara Tomoyasu led the Pearl City Marching Band.

With the advent of a new millennium, invitations to the parade were much sought after. So, Pearl City High School band members say they know how fortunate they are to be playing in one of the coveted spots in the lineup.

"It just feels like a privilege to be in the Rose Parade," said band president Alan Kinoshita, also a senior. "It's an experience of a lifetime."

Band members and their families sold Christmas trees, wreaths, entertainment books and chicken to raise enough money to go on the trip, and have been practicing for this and other performances and competitions since June.

"I want to look good," Kinoshita said. "We are trying to be a good marching band to represent Hawaii."

Preparation for Tomoyasu also means making new friends before even leaving Hawaii. She has electronic pen pals she met by e-mailing members of other bands who will be participating in the parade. "I'm looking forward to meeting people (in person)."

But for many band members, the hard work has been worth it because it's a way to fulfill longtime dreams.

When she was younger, Krysten Benjamin saw herself being the best flag holder performing in the Rose Parade. Now, she's the captain of the band's flag corps and notices a sense of unity that is stronger than ever before. "This year, there's this team spirit."

While most of the students will be away from their families, they think it's still pretty cool that they'll get to celebrate the arrival of the year 2000 before anyone else here at home. And besides, they'll have their second family to help greet the arrival of a new millennium.

"It's going to help to be there with our band family," Benjamin said.

"It'll be like you never left home," said senior Kanani Kaopua, one of 30 hula dancers with the band.

Kinoshita said the family feeling is credited to the band's three directors, Michael Nakasone, Thomas Kamisato and Kent Sato.

Kinoshita said the band directors aren't looking for perfection, just students who work hard.

"They know we're doing our best," Kinoshita said. "You may not be the best at an instrument, but they give you a chance."

The band left for California yesterday. Look for them somewhere in the middle of the pack, playing tunes such as "Hawaiian War Chant," "Over the Rainbow" and "Kohala March."

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin