YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Regional

400 High School Musicians Bound for the Olympics

August 31, 2000

IRVINE — More than 400 musicians from three Orange County high schools will be leaving today to join a 2,000-member marching band that will play at the Sept. 15 opening ceremonies of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

Irvine High, Kennedy High School in La Palma and Placentia's El Dorado High will be sending performers.

This week, the 102 Irvine High musicians practiced about 20 songs and finalized their preparations. They talked about passports, wearing comfortable shoes, and, yes, the conductor cautioned: Don't forget your instruments.

The reaction of the musicians was a mix of nervousness, anxious laughter and pride.

"It really is an honor," said Jody Harriss, 23, an Irvine High School alumnus who still plays trombone with the band.

It was a long road to this point. Last summer, the invitation to play in the ceremonies was revoked when Australians realized that the Olympic band would consist of 500 Australians, 200 Japanese and 1,300 Americans. With people at home wondering if Aussies were up to snuff, some U.S. bands were scratched from the roster--Orange County's three schools among them.

But after letters from lawyers to Olympic organizers and worries over a possible lawsuit from a company organizing the Olympic band, members of the Sydney Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games relented.

"I was really bummed out when we were dis-invited," said Alexander Saduik, 15. "Now . . . this is just about a great trip and a once-in-a-lifetime thing."

Los Angeles Times Articles