PROVO Timpview High School band students will head for Washington, D.C., on Thursday to honor U.S. war veterans.
This is the third time this decade the band has done so, performing under the baton of teacher David Fullmer at the prestigious National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade.
Timpview is one of 11 bands invited, the only one from Utah. They will also perform at the National World War II Memorial, U.S. Air Force Memorial and U.S. Marine Corps Memorial.
Taking life-changing band trips to honor the nation's war heroes isn't new for Fullmer. In 2001 he took the high school band to Hawaii to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the World War II Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In 2004 the band crossed the Atlantic to the shores of Normandy Beach to perform in honor of the soldiers who fought on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
In Washington the band will visit historic landmarks including Gettysburg, the Vietnam War Memorial, the Washington Monument and the White House.
To prepare for the Washington trip, students attended weekly music rehearsals and history lessons at 6:15 a.m., memorized the Gettysburg address and the Preamble to the Constitution, read David McCullough's American Revolution best-seller "1776" and the Civil War novel "The Killer Angels," memorized all the members of the president's Cabinet, and learned how the federal government is organized, said one of the band member's parents, Kevin Kelly.
"They also had a research paper, and the entire musical program is memorized, as well," Fullmer said."The band students have met these requirements voluntarily in addition to their regular rehearsals and schoolwork," Kelly said.