By Kevin Walker, Editorial Intern
Dana middle school in San Pedro has garnered attention recently for its marching band, which played last month at the Home Depot Center in Carson. The 60-piece band has won a series of competitions throughout Southern California, often against high schools, and has marched in events like the Long Beach Veterans Day Parade.
Richard Havernick, parent of the band’s percussionist, credits director Efrain Nava for pushing the students to such a high level of performance.
“I don’t know how this guy does it,” said Havernick. “In 12 years, regardless of who the students are, he’s able to achieve great success.”
Parents like Havernick are not the only ones to appreciate the quality of the Dana middle school marching band. The band has been awarded 12 “superior” ratings by the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Band and Orchestra Festival since 2000 and was invited to march in this year’s Hollywood Christmas Parade.
In October the band was discovered by a representative from the Home Depot Center after a performance in a parade in South Gate and was featured as the “band of the game” at Chivas U.S.A. soccer match in April. The band will play the Home Depot Center again on Saturday during a game between Chivas U.S.A and the Los Angeles Galaxy.
For Havernick, however, the band’s biggest accomplishment is not its many awards and distinctions, but the the love of music it imparts on its young students.
“The students are pressed to play music with emotion and soul,” says Havernick. “I only wish more people knew of the band’s greatness as one of our local treasures.”
Dana middle school’s scheduled performance at Saturday’s game between Chivas U.S.A. and the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Home Depot Center was cancelled because of a shortage of seating due to higher than expected attendance.