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March-A-Thon: A Northgate Neighborhood Tradition

Sep 01, 2015 12:13PM ● By Jennifer Neys

Northgate High School's Marching Band and Auxiliary will perform at their annual March-A-Thon on Saturday, September 12, from 9:00 am to noon, parading along Northgate neighborhood streets and collecting monetary contributions from residents and spectators to help fund Northgate’s award-winning instrumental music programs. Photo by Sussan Kotsos.

By Randy Wanser

Residents in the vicinity of Northgate High School will soon be experiencing familiar tremors in their morning coffee cups and cereal bowls as Walnut Creek’s only marching band returns to wake up the neighborhood on Saturday, September 12, from 9am to noon, with their 13th annual March-A-Thon, a fundraising parade, concert, and spectacle, featuring students in classic uniform who execute rhythmic drumming, choreographed dance and twirling routines, and precise maneuvers while playing popular tunes on a variety of brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments.

The parade begins at Northgate High School, then marches along Burlington Way, Bowling Green Dr., Castle Rock Rd, Northgate Rd, Doncaster Dr., Whitehaven Dr., Arbolado Dr., Cafeto Dr., Cedro Ln, Mi Elana Cir, Valley Vista Rd, Ellesmere Dr., and ends at Arbolado Park.

Sara Stafford, first year director of Northgate’s Marching Band and Auxiliary, encourages residents and folks from all around the community to come out, line the streets, and enjoy the lively, traditional pageant. “The students have been preparing for weeks, since before school started," Stafford says. "They are excited and proud to finally share their performance with a live audience, in the great outdoors.”

“Marching Band is really fun!” says sophomore Amelia Morucci, section leader of five flutes and one piccolo. “Practicing, performing, and socializing together, we all grow super close.” She adds, “There are also great opportunities for leadership.”

Auxiliary Captain Riley Simmons, a senior, explains how his performing troupe enhances the music by providing a visual accompaniment. “With the use of flags, rifles, and carefully choreographed dances and formations, Auxiliary is more than complimentary – we provide pizzazz!” 

“March-A-Thon is a crucial fundraiser early in the school year,” says Tamara Helfer, President of Northgate Instrumental Music Boosters. “Our entire music program relies on the proceeds to purchase sheet music and instruments, and to help send our student musicians to educational festivals and competitions, whether it’s jazz, orchestra, symphonic band, concert band, wind ensemble, or marching band. We are so grateful for the community’s ongoing generosity.”

Tax-deductible donations to help support all Northgate award-winning instrumental music programs may be made in person at the March-A-Thon or by visiting Donations may also be sent to Northgate Instrumental Music Boosters (NIMB), PO Box 30232, Walnut Creek, CA 94598.