Variety of Bands Enliven Palisades Fourth of July Parade

By Laura Abruscato
Contributing Writer

Twelve bands will be marching in this year’s parade, including one from as far away as Minnesota and two from Pacific Palisades.

One of the new bands to watch for is the North Valley Military Institute Marching Band, consisting of 25 members who had never played an instrument before last August. Overcoming this initial lack of experience, the band (representing the only military charter public school in LAUSD) has now played and marched in seven events, and will be performing an American Armed Forces Medley and a Patriotic Medley.

The North Valley Military Institute Marching Band. Photo courtesy Dr. Mark Ryan

The North Valley Military Institute Marching Band.
Photo courtesy Dr. Mark Ryan

Speaking from Camp Pendleton, where the school has a summer camp, superin- tendent Dr. Mark Ryan said he oversees 520 students in grades 6-12. “We’re a college prep school. One hundred percent of our first two classes were accepted to college.”

“It’s not our purpose for students to join the military,” Ryan continued. “Our objective is to prepare them for the rigors of college using a military framework. They wear uniforms every day, and have increasing rank and responsibility. We teach those characteristics that serve the military and also serve college students. The idea is that when they begin college they will look sharp, be disciplined, on time, prepared and focused on accomplishment, work well as a team, be a good listener, and get assignments in on time.”

PAPA, the parade organizing committee, works with Pageantry Productions, an events company with considerable parade experience, to have a variety of new and returning bands and styles of music in the parade. Pageantry’s David and Elizabeth Sarell are coordinating the parade line-up, as well as the Huntington Beach parade that morning, and several bands will be marching in both.

The Watchmen Drum & Bugle Corps will be marching in the parade for the first time,although the group’s executive director, David Becker, marched here in his youth with the Sound Machine of the Inland Empire. The 84-member, Riverside-based group will play “America, The Beautiful,”“My Country, Tis of Thee” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” The drum line will play throughout the entire parade.

The Zumbrota-Muzeppa Marching Cougars of Minnesota. Photo courtesy Pageantry Productions

The Zumbrota-Muzeppa Marching Cougars of Minnesota. Photo courtesy Pageantry Productions

Another parade newcomer will be the Zumbrota-Muzeppa Marching Cougars, comprised of 78 students from a high school with a total enrollment of 300. This Minnesota band, directed by Scott Cory, will be playing a variety of tunes, including “American Woman,”“Mustang Sally”and “Hosts of Freedom March.”

The band travels every other year, andthis will be their first visit to the West Coast. In addition to marching twice on July 4 (first in Huntington Beach, then in the Palisades), the students will be spending their free time at the beach and visiting Disneyland. “We’re very excited about it,” says Cory. “Most of my kids have never been out west.”

The Cougars are a concert band for most of the year. During the summer, the stu- dents practice marching from 6:15 to 9 a.m. for six weeks, and play local parades most weekends.

The New Orleans “Traditional” Jazz Band will make its 12th appearance, playing crowd favorites such as “When the Saints go Marching In.”

“It’s our favorite parade—beautiful and well-organized,” says bandleader Hilarion Domingue Sr. “We interact, we’re friendly and we enjoy it.”

The Villa Park High School Band from Orange will make its fourth appearance in the parade. The Marchin’ Spartans, dressed in their cadet-style white, black and blue uniforms, are an 80-plus member unit, under the direction of Charles Jay.

Attorney Rob Weber, this year’s parade marshal and a former PAPA president, is also a musician who has a passion for the parade’s bands.

The Mountain Fife & Drum band, a popular entry two years ago, returns to Pacific Palisades. Photo: Tom Hofer

The Mountain Fife & Drum band, a popular entry two years ago, returns to Pacific
Palisades.
Photo: Tom Hofer

“I think the music is the best part of any parade, just the beat of the drums, the feel,” Weber says. “It gets people’s hearts beating and hands clapping.”

The Mountain Fife & Drums are returning for the second time. “There are very few groups like this on the West Coast,” says Weber. “It’s a real treat to get a group like this; they capture the spirit of the day with their tri-cornered hats and red, white and blue Revolutionary War-era costumes.” Also returning will be the Incognito Drum and Bugle Corps from Garden Grove, the Norwalk All-City Youth Band, Rancho La Laguna (equestrian/banda) and the Pasadena Scottish Pipes & Drums Band. The Combined Palisades High School Paul Revere Marching Band has also been a beloved part of the parade for more than a decade. The award-winning PaliHi band plays at weekly football games and enters marching band competitions throughout the year.

The award-winning Palisades High School marching band is a crowd favorite. Photo: Shelby Pascoe

The award-winning Palisades High School marching band is a crowd favorite. Photo: Shelby Pascoe

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