Local High School Band Returns from China

By Teresa Jun, KOLD News 13

The Catalina Foothills High School marching band and color guard are back from the trip of a lifetime.  More than 125 students performed in China, as part of youth festivities leading up to the summer Olympics in Beijing.

"It was incredible," said Jenna Adler, a member of the marching band.  "Everyone had such a great time, and it was such an amazing cultural experience for all of us."

The students showcased their talent at landmark venues, including the Great Wall of China and a section of the Forbidden City.  "It was surreal," said Ivanna Fotinos, a graduated senior.  "and it was my last performance, so it was really nice."

They even had time to take in the culture, from tasting native cuisine, to seeing cuddly pandas at the Beijing Zoo.  But most of all, students say they'll cherish the new friendships they've formed through the cultural exchange.  "We actually got to meet a Chinese color guard, and teach them how to (toss flags)," said Kasey McHugh, a color guard member of Catalina Foothills High School.  "It was really interesting interacting with the Chinese people, and that was probably my favorite part."

The students were invited to perform in Beijing after they were seen marching in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade a few years ago.