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January 28, 2009 > Celebrate Union City's birthday with James Logan High School and Color Guard

Celebrate Union City's birthday with James Logan High School and Color Guard

By Simon Wong

One of the commemorative items for Union City's 50th Anniversary is the Official 2009 Calendar depicting the community's Unsung Heroes.

January 2009 features the James Logan High School Band and Color Guard sporting their Olympic Uniforms at the Great Wall of China.

"The Band may be an unusual choice as Unsung Heroes. Among their many honors are numerous gold medals in national competitions and invitations to perform in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. While they have been recognized often as a group, we wanted to take this opportunity to honor the individuals who have comprised this amazing team," said Rhonda Rigenhagen. "Each is an Unsung Hero of our community."

Not only is each person dedicated to giving their best they are quietly and ably supported by The Boosters, a non-profit organisation run voluntarily by parents of Band and Color Guard members.

For most children, the recorder is their introduction to musicianship in 2nd Grade. They start to experiment with band instruments in 5th Grade and may change several times before settling on one that they like. At Logan, instructors might direct students to certain instruments based on the Band's needs.

Currently, approximately 280 students, from 9th to 12th Grade, belong to the James Logan High School Band. The school provides some instruction but the rest is arranged privately by the students and their parents. Everyone who wishes to join the Band is accepted but the level of proficiency determines the group to which the student will be assigned.

Members compete regionally as a marching band in the Western Band Association's Annual Championship in November and but also perform in different groups throughout the year. For instance, in Winter, there are four different concert groups and the Color Guard and the Winter percussion group. The Wind Symphony will compete in Cincinnati in July 2009.

The received wisdom is that a musical education improves academic performance but Brian Holland, 2008/2009 Boosters President and a former high school musician himself, notices something else.

"Studying and playing music often helps these young people decide what to do in the future. My experience is that such students are more grounded. An interest in music focuses energy when the kids are not at school. Just going to Band Camp allows them to participate. Band membership is very demanding. Concert bands can practise daily in school as part of the timetable. The Color Guard and percussion practise twice a week after school," stated Mr Holland.

"The students really enjoy being involved. They like the sense of belonging to a 'family' and are very committed, enough to participate in the Band as an extracurricular activity," he added. "The school supplies many of the larger instruments such as the tuba, euphonium and drums and some smaller instruments but many buy their own."

Brian Holland donates his time voluntarily as President of The Boosters. Initially, he attended meetings when his son, who began playing an instrument aged ten, started drumming; as time progressed, he and his wife became more involved. His son will graduate from Logan this year.

The Boosters has its own Board of Directors who are responsible for organizing travel to competitions and other venues to perform. Once the School District was responsible for the entire Band Program but cutbacks over the last twenty years mean the burden has shifted to the parents whose dedication ensures that the Program continues.

There is some public funding available, so the Program is not entirely reliant upon the parents, but this has to be supplemented by Boosters' fundraising activities such as Car Wash, the annual sale of fireworks, voluntarily manning an Aramark catering concession at ball games in return for a percentage of the sales, the sale of tickets and food at field shows, sponsorship, advertising in show programs and donations.

The Band and Color Guard give fewer public away-performances than they would like because of the expense and organization.

"They are a major undertaking. There is much behind-the-scenes work. We need parents who can drive equipment trucks. We take a semi-trailer to marching band competitions. Some parents are truck drivers but in Winter we need to hire a driver. The band members fill six buses. There are hotel expenses, too. A group of three hundred is too large to accommodate in a single place.

"The Boosters will help to make trips possible for all students even if a parent can't pay. Rarely does a band member not go. This is where our fundraising helps and we also have scholarships," concluded the non-profit's President.

The James Logan High School Band and Color Guard will participate in Union City's 50th Anniversary Parade and Car Show on May 16, 2009.

For more details and a calendar of events, visit www.loganbandandcolorguard.org and www.UnionCity50.com.

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