Members of the Altus High School Band will perform at the state Capitol this Tuesday, December 16, at 6:30 p.m. in the fourth floor rotunda. The free concert, “From Infamy to Gallantry,” will pay tribute to the Oklahomans who served in World War II, and those from this state and throughout the country who served on the USS Oklahoma. The ship had the second highest loss of life in the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. More than 400 members of the crew died in the attack.
Sen. Mike Schulz, R-Altus, is hosting the concert, along with Gov. Mary Fallin, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, Rep. Charles Ortega, C. Kendric Fergeson, and USS Oklahoma survivor, Ed Vezey. Schulz said the musicians, also known as “That Altus Band,” have been invited to be part of the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor in 2016.
“Although most of those serving on the USS Oklahoma were from other states, they were all considered to be part of part of our state and our history,” Schulz said. “People may remember that Oklahomans played a big role in helping get a permanent memorial in Hawaii to honor the ship and crew that carried our state’s name, so there is a strong connection there as well. We’re extremely proud of That Altus Band for being invited to represent our state for the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.”
In addition to honoring Oklahoma veterans, the concert is also part of the fundraising effort to help pay for the members of the band to travel to Hawaii in 2016. The trip will cost each member of the band about $2,800. Organizers hope to raise at least $140,000, which will help pay for about half of the cost for each member of the band. Any additional funds raised will be used to further defray the cost to the students.
“Since the band will be representing the entire state, I think it would be great if folks from throughout Oklahoma would help support these kids by making a donation,” Schulz said. “This is a big honor for these young people, and something that they will remember the rest of their lives.”
To find out more about the Altus High School Band and their trip, or to donate, visit www.altusbands.com.