PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Like many groups this year, Bay High’s band and chorus faced disappointment during the pandemic. After the program’s trip to Ireland was canceled, students were discouraged.
But now, they are headed to Honolulu to represent the state of Florida at the 80th Pearl Harbor Commemoration ceremony in 2021.
“I’m actually on Bay Link so I got a text message from Mr. Brown saying, ‘Everyone report to the cafeteria at 2:30, there’s also going to be a live,’ and I was just like — I was really shocked to hear good things,” said Ngan Nguyen, Bay High color guard member.
Band and chorus member were surprised and excited to hear the news.
“When he said it came to a surprise to all of us– a lot of us — a lot of joy, excitement, especially for the junior class since the major trip of our school year has been canceled,” said Cyrus Kelly, Bay High band member.
Adam Brown, Bay High’s band director, said the band hadn’t been looking for travel opportunities due to the pandemic. But when an email from a local World War II veteran came across his desk, he said he felt it was an opportunity they couldn’t pass up.
“So over the past six months or so they’ve been collecting recommendations, and apparently a retired veteran in our area recommended Bay High School,” Brown said. “It’s a big honor. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t tear up a little bit reading that email and reading the official invitation.”
The official invitation states that the selection was, “based on your outstanding reputation in your community, and a recommendation from a retired veteran in your area. Your students will not only proudly represent your state but also the WWII veterans from Florida.”