When the Burbank-Burroughs Alumni Band marches down Olive Ave. in Burbank On Parade, they will be carrying on a tradition that the group began over 25 years ago.
The band is primarily composed of former band members from both John Burroughs and Burbank High Schools. They also have former drill team members from the two schools. The group came about in 1986, when Joanne Lento Miller got some her old band friends together to perform the half-time show for the alumni football game. Apparently everyone had such a good time, that they decided to keep on playing together and marched in Burbank On Parade that year. They’ve been doing it ever since.
Marching in Burbank On Parade is the band’s main activity. In the early years they marched in the Doo Dah Parade in Pasadena. Most years the band also participates in the Montrose Christmas Parade. It’s no easy task to get the band together. Not everyone lives locally. Some members come a long way just to march down Olive Ave. from Keystone St. past Izay Park to Lomita St.
Cindy Smith, who graduated from Burroughs in 1966, is coming all the way from Amarillo, Texas again this year to play her clarinet. Greg Hartman, a 1972 graduate of Burroughs, will be here from his home in Bakersfield. Bill Kuzma, from the Burbank High class of 1965, comes down each year from Novato, in the San Francisco Bay area, to direct the band. Besides playing in the Burbank High band as a student, Kuzma was director the school’s band director in the 1970’s, as well as director of the Burbank Police Boys Band.
The band’s uniform is fairly simple, jeans, and a white T-shirt with the Alumni Band logo on the front, and the member’s first name and graduation year on the back. For Burroughs it is in red, and blue for Burbank High alumni. This year, in keeping with the parade’s aviation theme, the drill team members will be wearing rolled up jeans and bandana in their hair “ala Rosie the Riveter.” Joyce Rudolph is director of the drill team.
Although small in numbers, the Alumni Band makes up for it in enthusiasm. Band manager Cheryl Smith McMillan, along with other stalwart members, keeps the band going year after year. Most members have their own instruments, but some don’t, so over the years she has managed to obtain several musical instruments. She has a number of horns, and even marching drums. So in many cases, the lack of an instrument is no deterrent to someone who wants to join the group.
You don’t have to be an alumna of Burbank or Burroughs to join the band. You don’t even need to make a big commitment of your time to participate. Rehearsals are held the morning of the parade. Any musician, drill team member, majorette, tall flag, or others who are interested, are welcome. The music is traditional high school marching band music.
You can find out more about the band on their Facebook page, or email them at email@example.com.