Uintah High band to march in Pearl Harbor parade, may not have instruments

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 13 2012 7:01 p.m. MST

Uintah High School marching band director Brian Gibson leads his students Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, as they rehearse for their performance in the annual Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade in Hawaii. The band is the only group from Utah that will perform in this year's parade.

Geoff Liesik, Deseret News

VERNAL — Brian Gibson has pitched a lot of trips to his students during his six years as band director at Uintah High School.

There was one to play an event in New York, another in California and still another in Colorado.

"They hear some great place that they want to go, and they're like, 'Yeah! Yeah, let's go there!'" Gibson said. "Then they say, 'How much will it cost us?' and they say, 'Oh, we can't afford that.'

"It's like this deflating thing," he said.

With that history in mind, Gibson didn't expect the trip he would propose for this school year would be the one "his kids" would go for.

"It's the most expensive one of all," he told the Deseret News.

"It's Hawaii! Who wouldn't want to raise money for that?" Uintah High sophomore Kaylynn Carman said when asked about the trip Tuesday.

That's right, the Uintah Utes marching band and the school's color guard are headed to Hawaii, where they will represent Utah in the annual Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade. The group will also perform at a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the USS Arizona Memorial and get a chance to tour other historic and cultural sites.

"Any time I can give my kids the opportunity to do something they normally wouldn't get to do, it's a good thing," Gibson said.

The students began raising money for the trip last year.

"We've sold chocolate bars, sold flashlights, asked people to buy ads on our (band equipment) trailer — a lot of different fundraisers," Uintah senior Ben Hardin said.

All those candy bars, flashlights and advertisements helped the band raise nearly $60,000 — enough to pay for their flights, hotels and meals during their six-day trip.

Whether they'll have instruments to play in the parade, however, is still up in the air.

"Right now we're looking at about $3,200 roundtrip to get the equipment there and back," said Gibson, who had to ship the instruments Tuesday to ensure that they reach Hawaii in time for the group's arrival Dec. 4.

"I looked at taking them on the plane and did the math," he said. "It was about sixes either way."

The instruments were sent cash-on-delivery, meaning Gibson doesn't have to pay the delivery cost until the band reaches Hawaii. He is confident his students will raise the remaining money they need, but said he doesn't expect anyone to simply donate the funds.

"I don't like handouts," Gibson said. "Everything that we've earned, we've earned by selling either a product or a service.

"If someone wants to help out, we'll put an ad on our (band equipment) trailer for a donation," he said. "The bigger the donation, the bigger the ad."

Anyone interested in helping the band can call Uintah High School at 435-781-3110.

E-mail: gliesik@desnews.com Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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