Small-town MN marching band part of big Pearl Harbor ceremony

On the 75th anniversary of the attack at Pearl Harbor a Minnesota high school band will be part of the ceremonies
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A marching band from a small western Minnesota high school is representing the state at ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

83 students – more than one-third of the enrollment at Kerkhoven Murdock Sunburg High School are in Hawaii preparing for Wednesday's events.

They'll be part of a Mass Band featuring more than 1,000 student musicians from the U.S. and Japan who will perform aboard the battleship USS Missouri.

The Missouri is where the Japanese surrendered to end World War II. Organizers say Wednesday's ceremonies are part of never forgetting the tragedies of the war.

Getting from western Minnesota to Pearl Harbor is no easy accomplishment. The cost is about $2,500 per student, according to a video put together by KMS to support the effort.

They'll be rehearsing on Tuesday, but since arriving in Hawaii over the weekend the Marching Saints have already had time for some sightseeing, including a visit to the USS Arizona memorial where they met a Pearl Harbor survivor. (His words of advice: "You must listen to learn.")

The trip has been planned for more than a year and the band's preparation has included learning about World War II.

A World War II theme pervaded their parade performances this summer, including re-enactments of the flag raising at Iwo Jima and the famous Times Square kiss on V-J Day.

Here's a cool video that band director Pam Diem put together with scenes of their rehearsals and performances this year.

The Marching Saints won't be showing off any dance moves aboard the crowded USS Missouri but before their departure Diem told the West Central Tribune "once we're there, it's no longer about us; we become part of the big picture."

The newspaper reports about half of the KMS students heading off on the trip had never flown in an airplane before and some said they were looking forward to meeting musicians from other places.

Wednesday's performance will be livestreamed and you can watch it here.

While he won't be there on Wednesday's anniversary, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to visit Pearl Harbor later this month, the White House announced Monday. It will be the first visit by a Japanese head of state to the site of the surprise attack that pulled the U.S. into World War II.

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