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Granite Bay band: A passion for service

By: Joanna Jullien, Special to The Press-Tribune
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Walk into the band room at Granite Bay High School after school hours and there are always students hanging around. But these are not ordinary teenagers. They are disciplined and dedicated to their music, but also love to have a good time. These students are also serious about community service. On March 27 the Granite Bay High School Emerald Brigade along with the bands from Oakmont and Roseville high schools will come together in an annual benefit performance at the Granite Bay High School Theatre, called the Concert for Hope. The students plan to raise money for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, and the American Cancer Society. Established six years ago, the benefit was the Granite Bay High band's response to two band families struck with brain cancer and ALS, which devastated the Granite Bay band community. To this day, the current band members all appear to be connected to the initial reasons for starting the Concert for Hope “ even though they do not know the families stricken by these devastating diseases. There is nothing better than doing something you really enjoy while benefitting others, said Granite Bay junior Brent Chatterley. Frank Hammarin, also a junior, said that the Concert for Hope helps us bond as a team around helping others. Hammarin does not know the families for whom this benefit was established, but he knows this is a legacy for the band. We are like one big family, Hammarin said. All the students who come through band rally for this cause. Lynn Kulikowski, band director for Granite Bay High School, supports the involvement the band has in the community. Kulikowski said the students have also been involved with a Christmas gift drive for St. John's Shelter for Women and Children, which was started two years ago by Granite Bay senior Stephanie Vatz (who graduated early and is traveling in France). Kulikowski explained that band members collect and deliver gifts, and play Christmas carols for the children at the shelter. Other examples of community service include individual projects taken on by band students. Chatterley recently shaved his head to raise money for the Cancer Society and then donated the hair to Locks of Love to be used for financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term hair loss from any medical diagnosis. Brian Wong, a senior headed to Stanford, volunteers with the Placer County Peer Court “ an alternative to probation for kids who have gotten into trouble. Wong said the program is encouraging and worthwhile because it helps students think about what they've done wrong, and reflect on what they can become and stay out of trouble. I have been really impressed by the passion and dedication of these students, Kulikowski said. They are very focused on helping others. The Concert for Hope has turned out to be their undertaking. Since the first concert benefit six years ago, the high school band students have raised approximately $20,000 to $25,000, according to Kulikowski. For more information about the concert contact Kulikowski at lkulikowski@rjuhsd.us.