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Utah high school band, orchestra students arrive in Hawaii to perform at Pearl Harbor

Uintah High School band and orchestra students travel to Hawaii to perform at the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor on Thursday. (Mark Wetzel, KSL-TV)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Even though the miracle of flight happens every day, you never forget your first time.

So, when students from Uintah High School in Vernal arrived at the Salt Lake City International Airport Thursday morning, you couldn't blame some of them for maybe saying a little prayer asking for that miracle to continue.

"I used to be afraid of heights," said one student to a classmate.

"I have never been in an airplane or an airport," said another student.

"It's a little bit scary but exciting," one student said when asked.

Of course, when you're going on the trip they're on, those nerves are worth it.

"We're going to Honolulu, Hawaii, and we're going to play at Pearl Harbor for the 80th memorial," said one of the students.

Yes, Pearl Harbor.

And the Uintah High School band and orchestra were invited to perform during the parade and memorial ceremony.

"We're all excited to go," said Lorenzo Crane, who plays the tenor saxophone. "We've been working for almost three years for this."

It took about that long for students to raise the money to go.

"There's been a lot of fundraising. We do the popular world-famous chocolate bars," said Crane with a laugh. "I don't ever want to sell another chocolate bar again."

Earning $2,400 for each student is a lot of bars.

"Oh, I'm so tired of chocolate. I never thought I would say that. I'm a big guy, you know? I like chocolate," said Brian Gibson.

Gibson is the director of the Uintah High School band and orchestra and says even though there was a lot of fundraising, the students worked hard raising money to go.

He took another group five years ago, but this time is very different.

"Hawaii has got some pretty strict COVID rules still in place, so they've got to have a negative test or a vaccine card," said Gibson.

Even still, performing at Pearl Harbor to honor those who died and remember a day that should never be forgotten makes the flight to get there worth it.

"It's kind of an honor to have the opportunity to do this," said one student.

Even for those who were a little nervous about the flight.

"I'm very excited, actually, to be able to represent Utah and go to Hawaii, let's be honest," said Crane with a smile.

Sometimes, to learn about history, you have to leave the classroom.

The Utah Pipe Band is also in Hawaii to perform as well as the Dance Team from American Heritage High School.

They also arrived Thursday late afternoon with plans to perform on Friday.

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Alex Cabrero

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