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Veterans Donate $5K to AHS Band for New York Trip

On Friday, April 5, a group of veterans presented the Alameda High School band with a check for $5,000 to help with funding for an upcoming competition in New York. When Vietnam and American Legion Post 647 veteran Joe LoParo learned from AHS band teacher Tyra Cable that the group of students had been fervently fundraising for the April 11 trip, he knew his network of veterans groups would want to help.

Alameda Post - Veterans Joe LoParo, Sam Moriana, and Larry Fukuba
Joe LoParo, Sam Moriana, and Larry Fukuba. Photo Kelsey Goeres.

LoParo was moved by the band’s hard work at the Alameda Elks’ Sunday morning breakfast, where they played music for three hours and waited tables for tips to raise money for the trip. LoParo also dearly appreciated whenever the band played for the group, especially on Veterans Day every year. So he set out to connect with various veteran groups to see what kind of contribution they could make to the trip fund.

“I took this information back to the groups thinking maybe we could raise $1,000,” he told the Alameda Post. “To my surprise, the veteran groups opened up and all voted for much more than I expected from each. I am proud to say that we raised $5,000 to give to (the band).”



The check, which LoParo hopes will help families who struggle with the cost of sending their children on trips like this, was a surprise to Cable and the students. On Friday morning, LoParo and two other veterans—Sam Moriana from American Legion Post 647 and Larry Fukuba from American Legion Post 9—met in the principal’s office before making their way through the colorfully painted halls of AHS to the band room. Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft also joined in on the surprise.

Alameda Post - Joe LoParo and Tyra Cable at the front of the AHS Band room
Joe LoParo and Tyra Cable in the AHS band room. Photo Kelsey Goeres.

Once they were in the band room, LoParo stood at the front of the room next to Cable to read the students a letter.

“Music is a powerful way to connect people and evoke emotion,” he began. “So a concert that you specifically dedicate to veterans on Veterans Day every year is incredibly meaningful to us. It serves as a reminder of the sacrifices we make by those who have served their country and reinforces the importance of honoring and remembering their contributions.

“We want you to know the veterans in our group greatly appreciate your effort and thoughtfulness put into organizing such an event each year,” he continued. “It’s a beautiful way to bridge the generation gap and foster a sense of unity and respect within our community. On behalf of the VVA, Vietnam Veterans of America, American Legion Post 9, and American Legion Post 647, we would like to reward you with this certificate of appreciation. Included in here is also a check for $5,000.”

“Thank you!” Cable replied with her hand on her heart. “We love playing for you over there. It’s so much fun.”

Following the check presentation, LoParo told Cable that he and the group would love to hear something the band was working on for the competition, if it wasn’t too much trouble. The students scrambled to get their instruments, turned to the correct page, and proceeded to play a lovely, spring-y three minutes of music to close the veterans’ visit.

Kelsey Goeres is a contributing writer for the Alameda Post. Contact her via [email protected]. Her writing is collected at AlamedaPost.com/Kelsey-Goeres.

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