By Ryan Gierach, WeHo News
Thursday, January 22, 2009 - West Hollywood, California – The Fairfax Marching Lions, a generation ago the very flower of Los Angeles area bands and only recently resurrected into a local powerhouse by Raymundo Vizcarra, WeHo Mayor Jeffrey Prang’s husband, has been invited to represent the State of California in the nation’s 2010 Memorial Day Parade in Washington D.C.
The smart, oft honored Fairfax Band on parade. – WeHo News
Its very history bespeaks a tradition of excellence at the school’s music program.
Fairfax High School sat dead center in the Jewish and artistic communities of Los Angeles, with West Hollywood across the street and the Fairfax District on the other side.
The dual emphasis on artistic appreciation and education charted the school’s music program’s course, one of excellence and renown that included a full orchestra, concert/marching band and large chorale, all of them State Champions in multiple years.
The bands alumni list read like a veritable who’s who in Hollywood with Mickey Rooney, Ricardo Montalbán and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers heading it, but had fallen prey to budget cuts and changed priorities in the mid-1980s, disbanding in 1986.
The Memorial Day occasion caps the return of that once-storied championship band to national stature, as it parades with other high school, college and military bands, floats and troupes of current and former troops.
Since the band’s resurrection in 2006, it has won numerous awards in both parade and field competitions in its category, including a State Title.
The Fairfax Band in its halcyon days as a championship band. WeHo News
Beaming like a proud papa, WeHo Mayor Prang said, “It has been a pleasure to watch and support the Fairfax Marching Lions as they've grown into a premiere instrumental music program over the last two years.”
The American Veterans Committee, which organizes the yearly commemoration, extending the invitation to the band to march the parade route along with other veteran groups, school and military bands.
The invitation cites “The chance to be a part of the National Memorial Day Parade[, which will bring] unparalleled educational opportunities and memories that will last a lifetime”
The attending musicians will also be treated to a concert by the National Symphony Orchestra concert at The Capitol.
The parade takes place on May 31, 2010 along Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Street.
The Fairfax Band’s champion Color Guard in action. WeHo News
Organizers project that “several hundred thousand people” will line the route to commemorate the sacrifices made by the country’s armed forces.
The young musicians will receive, as part of the roughly $1,200 three night/four day trip, hotel accommodations, air fair, two meals, educational excursions, that concert at the Capitol, a commemorative T-shirt and video.
The cost of the trip lays squarely on the band’s shoulders; LAUSD cannot budget funding for the expense.
To make a contribution to the youths’ once in a lifetime trip, contact Raymundo Vizcarra at LAUSD’s Fairfax High School Band Room by E mail or by mail at
Fairfax High School:
Attention Raymundo Vizcarra
7850 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046