GHS band marches with Mickey
The weather has been shifting these last couple weeks, but the Gridley High School marching band is hoping for some sunshine down in Southern California as it heads to Disneyland to perform in the park's daily parade.
The GHS marching band, directed by John Haeberle, is embarking on its ninth trip to Disneyland since 1994, traveling to Anaheim every other year to lead the Disney Parade of Characters. The band will play a combination of some of Disney's most popular songs, including "Mickey Mouse March," "Supercalifragili-sticexpialido-cious," and "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah."
The band is composed of clarinets, flutes, saxophones (both alto and tenor), trombones, baritones, trumpets, tubas, French horns, bass clarinets and percussion. When marching in a parade, though, the GHS band also includes the flag team — led by seniors Julie Anderson and Tina Vasquez — the ID squad and two drum majors, senior Erika Figueroa and junior Haylee Ponciano.
The band comprises 90 high school students. Haeberle says this year's is "the best-balanced group of all grades that I've ever seen," consisting of approximately 22 students from each class.
For such a dedicated band, the group seems only to focus its thoughts upon music; nevertheless, the band also includes some of Gridley High School's finest athletes, academic achievers and community leaders.
"For such a small high school to have maintained a large and thriving music program for all these years says a lot about the community. Not only the parents of these students but the community as a whole continue to be very supportive even in tough economic times," Haeberle said.
And although Mr. Haeberle is right about one thing — that the Gridley community is the strong backbone of the GHS band — he modestly fails to mention that the glue holding the band together is himself.
It is actually quite amazing to witness the effort and time-consuming strength that the man behind the curtain — John Haeberle — injects throughout the entire process. This will be Haeberle's 24th year as a music teacher in Gridley, beginning his journey in 1986.
Haeberle conducts every one of Gridley's music classes — from fifth-graders with recorders to Sycamore Middle School's symphonic band to jazz, choir and band at GHS. The man contributes to every student's musical career from the ground up. Without him, there truly would be no music program in Gridley.
For the seniors in the band, the Disney parade is only one of several performances left on the horizon of their high school musical careers. Nearly all of the upper-classmen have been involved members of the band since the beginning in fifth grade. "Finally, we have an opportunity to put our hard work to good use," said senior Trevor Scott, who leads the baritone section.
But the consensus amongst the GHS band leaders, including myself, is that our "hard work" would be for naught without Mr. Haeberle — so as we march and perform before approximately 20,000 people in the streets of Downtown Disneyland, we thank the one man who helped us get there.