Cataleenz, Rachael, Susy, and Esly

By Roxy Ekberg
Republican Staff

From June 1st to the 10th, Rachael Nuernberger, Susana Prado, Cataleena Lortz, and Ms. Esly Ovando participated in the D-Day Parade created by the Historic Program, a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring fallen soldiers who fought at D-Day and Pearl Harbor.
“It’s a really cool way to unite, educate, and inspire people of our world about the soldiers who fought for our freedom,” said Ovando.
The program sent out audition flyers to music teachers across the US, only seven members were selected. Ten Wakefield students auditioned, and three were picked: Nuernberger on the trumpet, Prado playing the clarinet, and Lortz on the flute. Ovando was chosen to play as well, and was selected to be a trumpet section leader.
Music was handed two months in advance, “These girls are strong musicians, so I trusted them to practice on their own,” said Ovando. The musicians received support in their fundraising, from the school, community, and generous individuals, including a lawyer from Colorado. “We wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of our community and those in other states,” said Ovando.
After putting in months of practice and fundraising, the group finally made the trip. Combining with the Clemson University alumni band, the Trojans played to honor our veterans. On June 6th in the Normandy Village of Saint-Mere-Eglise, the band performed in the D-Day Memorial Parade and American Musical Salute to the Veterans. “They were very impressed with my students and I,” said Ovando. “The music department in Wakefield is going to keep growing and the students are very deserving. I am very blessed to be a part of this journey with my students.”
Aside from music, the group toured Utah Beach and Omaha Beach as well as the Britanny American Cemetery and the Normandy American Cemetery. They also enjoyed a trip to the Eiffel Tower and saw the Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum. Before even leaving for France, the group went to Washington D.C., visiting Arlington Cemetery, Lincoln Cemetery, and the World War II Memorial.
Ovando will begin her third year at Wakefield Community Schools. Last year, she changed positions from the 5th-12th band teacher to the 7-12th vocal and instrumental teacher. “The kids are so much fun, they make my job worthwhile.”