The BYU-Hawaii/Polynesian Culture Center Brass Bandk received a double thumbs up from George Bush for its performance at a recent reception held in his honor in Waikiki.
President Bush traveled to Hawaii prior to the Nov. 7 election and met in Honolulu with heads of state from 11 of the island nations of the Pacific.Under the direction of Gary Sorensen, the band played official fanfares "Ruffles and Flourishes" and "Hail to the Chief" as the president made his entry. President Bush, after acknowledging the crowd, turned and gave the group the popular two thumbs up. After his speech, he also shook hands with several members of the band.
"It was a great honor for the university and especially for our Brass Band to be chosen to perform the official fanfare introducing the president's arrival," Sorensen said. "The music we played was not necessarily the most musically rewarding band literature, yet the actual performance was one of the most challenging and fulfilling professional experiences of my career as a music educator."
The musicians also played the accompaniment for the "National Athem," which was sung by Guido Salmaggi, well-known Honolulu singer and former honorary Italian Consul for hawaii. Salmaggi also sang back-up for entertainer Nalani Olds, who sang "Hawaii Pono I," Hawaii's state anthem.
The band performed throughout the evening, playing a number of songs from its repertoire.
"I am exceptionally proud that our band and students were picked to perform for the president," said BYU-Hawaii Pres. Alton Wade, in attendance at the reception. Polynesian Culture Center President james Christensen also attended the reception.
The invitation to perform at the event came a week before the reception, requiring many details in preparing for such a performance, Sorensen said. Logistics, security, uniforms, music, and student schedules all had to be arranged.
"It was exhilarating and interesting to be included."