Every winter, high school band directors gather up recordings of their best performances, letters of recommendation and lists of achievements. They carefully submit their applications, then wait to see if their band will be chosen for one of the highest honors a marching band can receive- performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. GPHS Marching Band Director Jason Garcia explains- “Only six to eight bands are chosen from all high school marching bands across the nation. Grants Pass was honored to be one of those bands last year.” GPHS was also selected to perform in 2010, exceptional for a small town band.
If you visit the band room at Grants Pass High, you will notice something unique. The shelves that line the walls are overflowing with trophies and awards dating back over a quarter-century. Director Garcia attributes the band’s success to the unwavering support of the school board, boosters, and community partners including the Grants Pass Active Club, who annually holds Boatnik, Oregon’s second largest festival to benefit local youth. The festival is supported by Avista and other local businesses. “We have been very successful… ” shares Garcia, “and in this time when so many schools are being forced to cut their art and music programs due to budget issues, we feel incredibly grateful. We could not do this without the team work of all involved.”
Avana Shanahe shared how band has opened up possibilities in her life. “Because of band, I have grown to love music more and appreciate the power it has to connect us… I’ve decided to study Music Therapy so that I can use what I love to help others.” Music Therapy is a science-based therapeutic program where music is used to help patients with brain injuries, dementia, autism and other debilitating conditions.
At Avista our vision for giving back means that we are investing in organizations and causes in ways that can be transformational and have long-lasting impact. The non-profit Grants Pass Active Club is doing just that by supporting youth activities and providing scholarships in their community.
For upcoming GPHS band performances, visit the band’s website.