Former GH resident to direct Fremont orchestra at Pearl Harbor

Twenty members of the Fremont High School orchestra will be featured in performances on the deck of the USS Missouri during a Fourth of July celebration - called the Salute to Valor Music Festival - at Pearl Harbor next week. It is the only high school group in the nation invited on this particular stage, said the orchestra's director, Grand Haven native Julie Butts Anderson. The orchestra members have been practicing 3-4 hours a day since school got out to get ready for this once-in-a-lifetime event, Anderson said.
Becky Vargo
Jun 30, 2011


Fremont High School does not sanction trips like the ones to Disney World that are as much for fun as they are for education, Anderson said. So it took a couple of phone calls to convince her that this was purely educational and worth pursuing.

The event is designed to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Anderson said festival organizers obtained a list of orchestras from the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, then whittled it down to the groups they would consider inviting to the event.

“We were on the short list of those that qualified,” Anderson said, noting that “Fremont has kind of a tradition of excellence with their orchestras.”

Anderson, the daughter of Steve and Lois Butts of Grand Haven, said in September 2010 the band was asked to go through an application process to determine which of the orchestras on the short list would be invited to the music festival. Anderson said she had to do telephone interviews and send videos of her group performing.

“In December, we were notified we were performing,” she said.

The only problem was that only 20 students could go, Anderson said, so there were auditions for the slots.

The orchestra leaves Fremont on Thursday, arriving in Honolulu later that evening. The group will return to Fremont on July 6.

To read more of this story, see today’s print edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.


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