Lake Oswego schools shine in the major Portland event

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lakeridge High's marching band took second place in the In-State A Category of the Starlight Parade.Local students did the Lake Oswego community proud during the Portland Rose Festival, arguably the biggest annual event in the metro area.

Local bands, a princess and a team of young unicyclists were among the many community representatives in the multi-week festival.

At the Starlight Parade on June 1 in the Rose City, Lake Oswego High lassoed first place in the In-State Open category for marching bands with 100 or more members. Lakeridge High earned second place in the In-State A category, representing groups with 99 or fewer members. Dancers and cheerleaders enhanced the musicians’ REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lake Oswego Highs about 170-member marching band includes violinists and violists, which is highly unusual.

Lakeridge junior Ryan Koh, who plays trombone, said the students were there not to vie for a prize but to have fun. Koh said the massive crowd’s cheering energized band members.

“I was surprised because after marching a few practices I was somewhat exhausted, but when you march in front of thousands of people, you just keep marching,” Koh said. “Once you get to the end, you still feel like you’re ready to go.”by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lake Oswego High School band members took first place in the 100 and more category in the Starlight Parade earlier this month.

Jason Kelley, who graduated from Lake Oswego High last week, was one of three drum majors in the parade band. Drum majors do not play drums. They are the student leaders of the band, leading it by blowing a whistle and waving a mace, which looks like a scepter.

“The Starlight Parade is a blast to march in, and it’s really a pinnacle moment, especially in your senior year,” Kelley said.

Neither Lakeridge nor Lake Oswego has marching bands regularly competing throughout the year. Each school combines its bands for the REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Pacer dancers, including Sonya Swanson, put the Lakeridge bands music into motion.

The wind ensemble, stage band and symphonic band comprised Lakeridge’s 70-member marching band. Cheerleaders and dancers accompanied them.

“We have done (the parade) every other year up until now, but, because I think we did such a good job and had such a great time, my plan is that we’re going to march again next year,” Band Director Corey Alston said.

Pacers engage with the community and enjoy the event, Alston REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lake Oswego High junior Megan Ten Berge, center, served as a Rose Festival princess.

“We were in-between pirates and belly dancers in the parade,” he said. “It’s just a quirky Portland event that the kids think is really cool.”

The wind ensemble, symphonic band and concert band formed Lake Oswego’s about 170-member marching band. Band Director Dave Matthys said few other marching bands have violinists and violists in them. The dance team put the music into motion, stepping ahead of Matthys’ musicians, and the cheerleaders followed the procession, showing off their moves.

The Lakers hype the crowd with High Five a Kid, dispersing when the parade halts to slap palms with the smaller parade-goers.

Matthys said spectators were at least six- or seven-people deep on the parade route with other onlookers standing atop parking garages or peering down from tall buildings — and there was a strong contingent of LOHS alumni and supporters.

“The crowd started doing Lake Oswego football chants to support the band,” Matthys said.

The bands weren’t the only honorees at the festival.

The Hallinan Unicyclist Club took second in the Skateboards, In-Line Skates, Unicycles category in the Junior Parade, held on June 5. The more than 30-student club represents students from Hallinan and Lake Grove elementary schools and is put on through the Lake Oswego School District Community School.

The parade and the club itself afford the team of one-wheeled riders a chance to shine.

“It gives another group of kids an opportunity to do something different and be admired by their peers, and most really, really are focused kids,” said Brian Toye, Hallinan Unicyclist Club coach.

In addition to the awards showered on Lake Oswego, there was a local who was festival royalty.

Lake Oswego High junior Megan Ten Berge honored her hometown with her community service as a Rose Festival princess.

Ten Berge, 17, was among the 15-member festival court. Princesses also travel the area, visiting hospitals, senior living centers, youth organizations and civic groups. The court also is featured in the Grand Floral Parade, which was held this year on Saturday. Court members are chosen from hundreds of applicants from Portland metro area high schools.

“The Grand Floral Parade was a blast for myself and the whole Rose Festival Court,” Ten Berge said. “We loved getting to ride on the float and experience the parade together. We have all become like sisters through this experience, and it was a very special time for all of us.”

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