Members of both bands will be attending the 2010 Pacific Basin Music Festival in Waikiki in March. The festival is an exclusive international assembly of bands, choirs and orchestras, consisting of members of all ages. Only 12 bands are accepted into the week-long program, so for two Brentwood bands to be invited is a grand accomplishment for both bands, which auditioned two years in advance in order to earn a spot.
“We are very excited to have both Heritage and Liberty high school involved in this year’s festival,” said Festival Manager Keith Bishop. “The Pacific Basin Music Festival is an international event, bringing together the most talented junior high, high school, community and college level bands and choirs from countries of the Pacific Basin and beyond. … This is a unique opportunity for international exchange through social functions and music.”
The teens representing Brentwood will be joined by bands from Australia, Japan, Singapore, the Kingdom of Tonga, as well as other schools from the United States.
But before the students can say aloha, they each need to raise approximately $1,500 to pay for admission to the program, airfare to Hawaii, meals and personal expenses.
In the past year, Heritage and Liberty students have been diligently working on fundraisers to offset the cost of the trip. Heritage students took over the Breakfast with Santa program, which was canceled by the City of Brentwood as part of budget cuts. Rather than see the holiday program cease, various Heritage student organizations got together to host the event and keep the Brentwood tradition alive while raising funds for various causes, including the Pacific Basin trip. The Heritage band also partnered with the Streets of Brentwood as the beneficiary of the shopping complex’s quarterly sale, where portions of sales at all the stores during a designated weekend are donated to the selected organization of the quarter.
Liberty’s band is taking part in that program this quarter and will be out at the Streets on Feb. 20 to show off its skill and raise some money.
But before Liberty takes it to the Streets, the band will be joined once again by Tower of Power member Mic Gillette for a special fundraising concert this Saturday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center at Liberty High School.
Gillette, whose granddaughter plays in the Liberty band, partnered with the band in May for a spring concert, which raised nearly $5,000 through ticket and food sales. Gillette also donated a portion of the proceeds from sales of his CD “Ear Candy,” which was sold at the May concert.
“I’m back again,” Gillette said. “Anything to help music programs in our schools. We’re looking to have a lot of fun – just like last time, but we’ll be trying out some new songs this time, and it will be really exciting. We’ll be debuting some songs off of my band’s (the Mic Gillette Band) CD which hasn’t even come out yet, so that’ll be really cool.”
Gillette, who rejoined Tower of Power last August, recently returned from a European tour and will be on the road again soon, but he said he’s always willing to take time out to help out the kids.
“The way things are with schools having to make budget cuts – the music programs are always one of the first things to go, and we can’t have that,” Gillette said. “A lot of people become born-again Christians after a heart attack, but I’ve been a Christian all my life, so after my heart attack nearly 10 years ago, I became a born-again musician. I do whatever I can to support music in our schools. They (the students) are the future and we need to foster their talents.
“This Liberty band has a great group of kids. They’re going all the way to Hawaii after all, but they’re talented and they’re excited to learn, and they enjoy learning, and this trip will be an opportunity of a lifetime and I want to help them get there.”
As part of the Pacific Basin Music Festival, students will have the opportunity to play at various venues as well as attend workshops to help hone their skills.
“This is a really exciting program,” said Liberty Band Director Carey Hurst. “The students will get to meet people from bands from around the world, and they’ll be able to talk shop and learn different things from each other and from the high-caliber instructors who will be hosting workshops. It’s a non-stop schedule. They (the students) keep asking me when they’ll be able to go to the beach, and I just tell them that if they have any energy left at the end of the day, then they can go to the beach. There is always something to do, but it will be a great learning experience for them.”
Hurst said her students are too focused on Saturday’s concert to start thinking about packing swimsuits. The students will be joined for a 10-song set by Gillette, as well as Journey keyboardist Steve “Keys” Roseman, Skip Mesquite of Tower of Power and Bay Area trombone extraordinaire Tommy Davidson. The freshman jazz band is also scheduled to perform.
A reception will be held prior to Saturday’s show at 6 p.m. Light refreshments will be available for purchase as the audience arrives for the show. Proceeds from the food sales go toward the band’s trip. Tickets for the concert are $15 at the door and $5 for senior citizens. Presale tickets are available now for $10.
The Liberty High School Performing Arts Center is located at 850 Second St. in Brentwood. For more information, contact Hurst at email@example.com.