Huntington Band to Entertain at Walter Reed Hospital
There are plans afoot for nearly six dozen members of Huntington High School's senior band to travel to Washington, D.C. for a concert performance at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Huntington School Board members approved the trip during a public meeting earlier this month.
Music teacher Jason Giachetti will lead the group, which will prepare music for the concert during ninth period school day rehearsals in the weeks leading up to the event. A tentative itinerary calls for the group to leave from the high school at 6 a.m. and return by 10 p.m. the following day.
The Huntington teenagers will perform the concert in honor of 2003 Huntington alum James Byler, a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Marines who was seriously wounded while serving in Afghanistan as an infantry platoon leader with the Third Battalion, 5th Marines out of Camp Pendleton, CA.
Lt. Byler, a graduate of Purdue University, lost both legs and the pinky fingers on each hand after stepping on a buried IED bomb. The Purple Heart honoree was carried to safety in a wheelbarrow by fellow soldiers. He received a hero's welcome home when he arrived at Long Island MacArthur Airport on December 23 for a visit with his family.
Mr. Byler is a Huntington band alumnus and current high school students are anxious to perform for him and other soldiers recuperating from combat injuries at Walter Reed.
Plans also call for the Huntington students to participate in a guided tour of the US Capitol and various monuments and museums during their trip to Washington, D.C. The group will travel via coach bus and stay overnight in an area hotel.
The band hopes to perform six pieces during the concert. Students will be given a tour of the Walter Reed complex and see firsthand the rehabilitation program provided to wounded soldiers.
"We are so proud of Lt. Byler," Superintendent John J. Finello said. "His sacrifice and service to our country is breathtaking. It is a real honor for the Huntington senior band to perform for our nation's heroes at Walter Reed Hospital."