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Ventura County Perspective

Help for High School Bands

November 29, 1998

Re "A Little Oom-Pah, Please," editorial, Nov 22.

I'd like to start by stating how encouraging it is to see the Los Angeles Times showing such an interest in the local band programs. As a parent of two high school students involved in a marching band program, I am aware of the positive values it instills.

As reported in The Times editorial, the success of a school band program is heavily dependent upon the support, efforts and contributions of the band parents, students and the community. The Thousand Oaks High School marching band is a fine example of what can be accomplished by total dedication of all involved. I have watched them on several occasions and everyone involved has reason to be proud.

Your editorial was openly a request for contributions so that Thousand Oaks could replace their existing 11 sousaphones to look good in the Rose Parade. While I think this is a wonderful idea and I commend the effort, I think The Times could easily expand its efforts to help fledgling band programs throughout Ventura County.

The Thousand Oaks Lancers have earned a trip to the Rose Parade but they are only one of the many Ventura County high school bands that march in numerous area parades throughout the year. All of these programs have to scrape for whatever they can get. Some don't have uniforms--and none of them has 11 sousaphones.

My challenge to The Times is to help more than one Ventura County band program. As a start, I would encourage that if your solicitation for $60,000 to buy 11 new matching sousaphones for Thousand Oaks is successful, the old sousaphones should be passed on to schools that need them and would be proud to march with them.

BILL McAULEY, Camarillo

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