Today’s Maple Valley Days Parade, a centerpiece of the annual community festival, will again have a University of Washington influence.
For the second year in a row, members of the UW Husky Marching Band volunteered to help train Tahoma High School’s wind ensemble and symphonic bands to become a 75-member marching band in the parade.
“It’s wonderful, because alumni students have come back,” said Roger Palmer, Tahoma’s band director. “They have been most helpful because of what they know about marching. They’ve been really good with the kids.”
Diana DeFrisco said she and her Tahoma bandmates “think it’s awesome” that the UW students are “helping us out.”
More than 30 of the Tahoma band members are marching for the first time this year. “It’s a very unique experience,” said Alex Cyatt, who’s one of them.
Marching brings a special element to band that helps kids bond and work together in a different way than concert band, according to the participants.
Jenny Hanna, a Tahoma alum who remembers when the marching band was eliminated during her freshman year of high school, said “it’s fun to help get it back.” She’s among five UW marching band members who have broken the Tahoma band into smaller groups to teach marching and drum cadences and help with music.
When asked why he and fellow Huskies do this, drummer Steve Henry said, “I have a passion for this activity. It’s such a great bonding experience for the students. I’m glad to be someone who can teach this.”
For today’s parade, which will start at 10 a.m. at Lake Wilderness Elementary School and wind along Witte Road to Lake Wilderness Park, the Tahoma contingent will play “Carry on, Wayward Son” and “Enter Sandman” and will also perform a specially written drum cadence.
“They sound very strong,” Palmer said.