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Musical love motivates leader

The screeching fire bell rang through the air as campus classes filed slowly out of the building. While waiting for the fire drill to end, students stared listlessly into space, bored out of their minds.

All of a sudden, the drone of the bell was replaced by the pounding of drums as the campus marching band took to the field for their daily practice, turning a routine fire drill into a chance to perfect their marching.

Many do not realize how much of a team activity band is; younger students look to the seniors for leadership and authority.

Flutist Karen Tolladay, ’05, currently serves the band as assistant drum major.

“Band is no small commitment,” Tolladay said. “During marching season, band takes up over a month’s worth of Monday and Friday nights, plus Saturdays. But I’ve been in band for eight years, so I am used to these kind of sacrifices.”

When Tolladay was a brand new seventh grader on campus, her involvement with the band provided an opportunity for her to make lasting friends.

“I came to this school in junior high,” Tolladay said. “I didn’t know anyone, but I made a lot of my first friends in band. Even now, I’m still friends with most of those same people.”

Tolladay began her band career in the fifth grade. Her new arrival on campus marked the beginning of her six-year devotion to the campus band.

“Karen is a great student,” Paul McEntee, band director, said. “Everybody makes a contribution to the band, and she not only does her part, but more.”

Drawn to the music, Tolladay picked up the flute in fifth grade and joined band.

“I’ve always enjoyed music,” Tolladay said. “When I was younger I would hear other bands, and I was always inspired by them. Eventually, I decided to give band a try.”

Tolladay, known for her flute playing, wouldn’t mind learning a different instrument someday.

“I played the bass clarinet for one year, and I really liked it,” Tolladay said. “I wouldn’t mind a little variety in instruments rather than playing one instrument forever. Besides, learning different instruments teaches you more about music.”

This year, as an experienced senior, Tolladay feels like a leader.

“Band is a big part of my life,” Tolladay said. “I enjoy the music and the people. My only advice to future band students would be to stay positive and to have fun.”

The Caruthers Parade will be held Oct. 2 and band will also march in the Visalia Parade on Oct. 16. For more information about the band, visit the high school office or contact McEntee, band director, at 299-1695, ext. 131. For information about the Caruthers Fair, visit www.caruthersfair.com/parade1.htm.

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