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Hempfield Area High School Spartan Band members to perform at Honolulu Festival

| Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Hempfield Area Marching Band member J.R. Janis, 18, plays his tuba during rehearsals on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013. Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review

Hempfield Area High School Spartan Band members will soon bid winter adieu and say aloha to Hawaii as they head to the islands to perform at the 19th annual Honolulu Festival.

Each of the 165 students making the trip has spent countless hours assembling cold cuts and cheese for submarine sandwiches, 12,000 at a clip. Each student was expected to sell 75 subs per sale to raise their $2,800 trip fee.

"Nothing sells like Hempfield Band subs," director Brian Tychinski said.

The students, chaperones and parents will leave Pittsburgh International Airport on Feb. 27 and return on March 5.

The marching and jazz band students will perform five times, including in the festival parade.

A different group of students traveled to Hawaii in 2009 to perform at events for the 50th anniversary of Hawaii's statehood.

"The trip was so terrific from an educational standpoint. ... I think the students have learned the most on this trip," Tychinski said.

The band will perform Feb. 28 at the USS Missouri and will tour the battleship that received the Japanese surrender in Tokyo harbor four years and nine months after Pearl Harbor was bombed.

That evening members will take a dinner cruise after having time to shop for island clothes.

"The kids like to haggle in the souvenir shops," Tychinski said.

The band will visit Pali Lookout on the North Shore and the Polynesian Cultural Center and watch a barge parade, with each barge representing a Polynesian island.

"Most of the kids did the Diamond Head hike last time. You can see over the whole island," Tychinski said.

There is some unique vegetation that grows only inside the volcanic area, he noted.

On the 2009 trip, some students took photos and gathered information as part of an assigned science project.

The March 3 parade will include huge drums on wheels, gongs, hula performances and floats, Tychinski said.

"This has to be one of the neatest trophies I ever got," he said, holding a Tiki-type wooden trophy from the band's 2009 trip.

A luau-style dinner on the beach will end the day.

"There will be lots of fresh pineapple. Macadamia nuts are big there. They will get to try poi (a dish made of taro root). Most of them hated it, but at least they tried it," Tychinski said.

Music will range from the traditional Bravura March to the band's "Party Rock" halftime show, which includes a dance number.

At Pearl Harbor, they will play "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "Amazing Grace."

Senior trumpeters Travis Ringer, Justine Scheloske and Emma Delisi, senior flutist Elizabeth Echard and freshman clarinetist Jason Chobirko were excited as they talked about the trip.

"I'm looking forward to Pearl Harbor. And the completely different landscape and black sand," Ringer said.

Chobirko said he expects to do homework on the long flights.

"I have heard about the amazing beaches. And of course, the marching. I'm a first-year (band) student. It's still exciting," he said.

Delisi is a four-year band member. "I'm just looking forward to making memories as a senior. It's a great way to end my marching band years," she said.

"Definitely Pearl Harbor. My grandfather was in World War II. It's always interested me, the historic things." Echard said.

Scheloske called herself "a scenery kind of person. I'm looking forward to going around the island and seeing everything there is to see.

"And I'm going to Hawaii with 200 of my best friends," she said. "How many times do you get to do that?"

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com.

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