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Bonita bands swing big for fundraiser

Cassidy Furnari, Bonita High School senior, sang “How High the Moon” along with the Bonita High School Jazz Ensemble for “Swingin’ with the Big Bands” dinner and concert fundraiser March 2 at the Fox Theater in Pomona. Furnari plans to be a Marine Biology major when she gets to college, and hopes to continue singing throughout her student career. / photo by Debora Escobar

Ingrid Rodriguez
Staff Writer

Raffles, food and jazz were not the only reason that almost 300 people showed up to the Fox Theater in Pomona on March 2.

Bonita High School held “Swingin’ with the Big Bands,” its 15th annual fundraiser night, for their band and color guard programs.

The jazz ensemble played music from the 1930s and 1940s to make the night a memorable one.

The night began in the lounge of the Fox Theater where the raffle prizes were set out on a table so the elegantly dressed guests could choose what prize they wanted to try and win.

“(This is) an event where the Jazz Band is going to perform and entertain,” Li Ju Anderson, a freshman in Bonita’s marching and symphonic band, said.

There were prizes that varied from a pamper basket to Dodger tickets.

Girls who volunteered walked around selling candy and soda to the guests.

The silent auction and raffle coordinator, Kristin Howland said that the prizes were donated by parents, organizations, sports teams, local restaurants and others.

Howland works at ULV as an administrative secretary for the history-political science department.

“We started planning for this, I want to say right after the holidays,” Howland said.

“(The money) goes toward the band for music, competition, anything the band needs,” Holly Alvarado, junior in the marching and symphonic band, said.

During dinner, a small group of students entertained the guests by performing a couple of songs.

The music served as a prelude to the night of swing music.

The jazz ensemble, which consisted of 17 students, started out their performance with the upbeat song “In the Mood” by Joe Garland.

Some instruments used by the jazz band were trumpets, trombones, saxophones, a guitar, drums and keyboards.

The students that performed during the evening had to audition for the opportunity to play in the jazz band. There were also many soloists from Bonita’s choir program.

“It’s a great chance for kids to sing solos tonight,” Todd Helm, choir director, said.

While the jazz ensemble performed, pairs of performers, who were dressed in ‘30s and ‘40s attire, danced to start the night as people slowly started joining them.

The raffles were done throughout the night.

La Verne’s Band Boosters Association President Tom Pinkus said that the night was put together by parent volunteers.

This is the third year they held the event at the Fox Theater.

“I will still be involved (next year),” Pinkus said. “I’ll just be a regular parent.”

LVBBA is a non-profit organization that funds Bonita High School’s band and color guard.

All the money that was received during the night will be used to support and bring in more money for the performances and festivals Bonita High School’s band and color guard host.

Ingrid Rodriguez can be reached at

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