DOUGLAS — Members of the Douglas High School band — past and present — will merge for Friday’s Douglas High School homecoming game with Empire performing several numbers prior to kickoff, including the national anthem and the fight song.
Celeste LaForge-Ramey of the class of 1989 said she came up with the idea to see how many band members she could pull together from over the years for a rare performance.
“This was spontaneous through, a Facebook group for band alumni,” she said. “From that, it evolved into this.”
Melissa Rodriguez became aware of the project and encouraged the group to contact Nathan Darus, Douglas’ band director, who quickly jumped on board and began using his connections to help coordinate the event.
The band has been practicing together for the past several Saturdays to get ready for Friday night.
Diana Davila said 225 former band members have expressed interest in joining the performance. How many will show up remains to be seen.
“We have Bill Hartwell from Deming, N.M., coming,” LaForge-Ramey said. “He plays the baritone. He graduated in 1981. We have Dean Huish from Palominas, who also graduated in 1981. We have people coming from Cottonwood, Phoenix, Tombstone. We’re hoping this picks up momentum for more years to come. We’d love nothing more than to have more collaboration with the DHS band as far as parades and scholarship money.”
Jose Durazo of the class of 1989 plays the tenor saxophone and has been busy practicing with the current DHS band in preparation for the alumni members participation. He has been busy getting the music the group will perform as well as recording it so they can practice and have an idea how it should sound.
“This is going to be a lot of fun,” he said. “I feel that this is a small but feisty group. It’s been 30 years since I was last on this field. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Darus said his high school band has grown to 50 this year, and he’s excited about bringing the two groups together. He is also hoping the former band members can motivate and inspire new band members to join.
“We’re gradually growing,” he said. “Hopefully. this is the first of many events to come.”
Ruben Robles, who graduated with Durazo and Ramey in 1989 and plays drums, is another former band member stepping onto the field for the first time in years.
“It feels awesome being back out here,” he said. “I think we’re all pretty excited about this.”
“This is going to be so amazing,” Davila added. “We really want to thank Ms. Rodriguez and Mr. Darus for helping this event to happen.”
In addition to the fight song and the national anthem, the group will perform two other numbers. This performance will take place prior to kickoff so fans are encouraged to get to the field early to listen.