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Well, for one thing, it's the coolest high school newspaper in all the land. Watch our video and find out more.
Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
BY JOHNPAUL BUGA, Palm Harbor University High
St. Petersburg born jazz saxophonist Mindi Abair, who has toured with many bands from the Backstreet Boys to Aerosmith, loves to come back to her Tampa Bay home for the Clearwater Jazz Holiday.
She also loves “band geeks,” because “I got to come up the ranks” in the high school marching band, she said from the stage at Coachman Park Friday night. As a teenager, Abair played in the Northside Christian High marching band. Friday night she welcomed lucky members of Palm Harbor University High’s marching band as well as other musicians from the school, including me, to play with her.
“Mindi personally requested PHUHS to perform with her at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday,” said band director James Dykes. A few years ago, the school’s instrumental music program was recommended by Ruth Eckerd Hall and Pinellas County school officials to perform with Abair at a Ruth Eckerd Hall concert.
After learning the music in less than three days, 60 musicians piled onto three buses to head for Coachman Park. We climbed into our snazzy uniforms, including plumed hats. It was sure hot under that hat, but who cared?
The woodwinds took our place on the floor in front of the stage, as the rest of the band followed. Facing the stage, I could not see what felt like thousands of people but I did feel them roaring as we performed All Star, dancing to the booming guitars and drums and marching band that filed in.
After the performance, the musicians were on cloud nine. “The energy was amazing,” said sophomore Lilli Long. “Playing with Mindi was by far one of the most profound experiences in my career as a musician.”
For freshman Michael Staubus, the chance was “once-in-a-lifetime.”
Said sophomore Jonathon Bishop: “It was an awesome thing to get to do.”
ABOUT THE VIDEO: The PHUHS marching band plays with Mindi Abair at the Jazz Holiday. Courtesy of Karen Novak McLendon.