By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer
Portales High School band alumni and directors from as far back as 1945 are planning to gather during Heritage Days to march in the parade and enjoy each others’ company.
Band director Cindy Stone, a 1987 alumnus, said more than 70 people have committed, some from as far away as California and Tennessee.
“I’ve been thinking about it for several years,” Stone said of the event she has organized. “And I can’t explain the joy I get from marching with the band.”
Stone thought she was feeling overly sentimental. But her friends and fellow band alumni encouraged her to organize the reunion and then signed up for it themselves.
In band, she said, students are affected by people in classes ahead of them and behind them, so they want to see everyone when they get together.
June 19, the group is scheduled to practice and eat courtesy of the band boosters. Many alumni are now band directors, and they will help lead the musicians, Stone said.
Also, she wants to gather photos, trophies and other memorabilia for a “band wall” to display that day.
June 20, the group plans to participate in the parade before dispersing.
Helen Warnica, class of 1946, and Adele Lovorn, who graduated a year early in 1945, said they want to ride a golf cart in the parade. Both women were baton twirlers and clarinet players in high school, and Lovorn served as drum majorette as well.
“If my kids could only see me now,” Lovorn said.
Stone said one former percussionist would march in the parade despite being eight months pregnant. The drummer plans to attach the drums to an all-terrain vehicle, which she will also ride if she gets tired, Stone said.
Linda Johns, class of 1978, plans to march with her daughter, Kaleigh, an incoming freshman in band.
“See that’s what’s neat, is to relive the band experience with her,” Linda Johns said.
Kaleigh Johns had another take on the multi-generational aspect.
“I think it’s going to be exciting to see all the different generations of people who are still excited to be involved in the band program,” she said.
Stone said alumni don’t have to play, but most want to. If they don’t have their own instruments, she said, some will be provided.
Even though it is too late for band alumni to get a T-shirt for the reunion, Stone said they could still march.
She hopes to make the reunion an annual event.