Musical director William DeWitt disclosed yesterday that the Manta Ray Band is all set for its comeback at the upcoming Tumon Bay Music Festival in Guam.
“We are definitely returning for our fourth visit to the TBMF. I am very optimistic about this year’s Manta Band. They have been working hard musically (as always) and are preparing to compete not just in the high school wind ensemble category, but in the jazz, rock, small ensemble, and solo divisions as well,” said DeWitt.
The weeklong festival is slated from Feb. 28 to March 9.
DeWitt said all of band members will be participating in either the Tumon Bay International Wind Ensemble under the direction of Maestro Atsushi Yamashita and/or the All-Island High School Honor Band under the direction of University of Guam's professor of music, Dr. Jeffrey Meyer.
As far as fundraising is concerned, he said the group is nearing its goal of raising some $30,000 for the 10-day excursion. DeWitt shared that many community members and some dedicated parents and PTA members have joined forces to get them closer to making the trip a reality.
The group's final big “push” is this weekend’s golf tournament at Coral Ocean Point. Entry fee is $80. Saipan Tribune learned that the Xclusive Golf Association is spearheading this event for the Manta Ray Band. Top three prizes of $200, $150, and $100 will be given away. A raffle and banquet will follow.
“Currently, we are budgeting almost $8,000 for hotel costs, $13,000 plus for airfare, and $4,000 to $5,000 for ground transportation/fuel, miscellaneous costs including festival entry fees (approximately $500), clinicians honorariums ($200), insurance ($500), certain meals, and other emergency expenses. Our best estimates at this point leave us only about $3,000 short of our goals. We will make it somehow!” said DeWitt.
He said that 47 students will join this year's festival.
This year marks the 11th anniversary of the Saipan Southern High School Manta Band program, which coincides with the founding of the school in 2002.