ATWATER -- Some familiar patriotic melodies will reverberate from the Atwater High School gym Monday night as the Falcon Band does a musical salute to present and retired military personnel.
The 100-member band will perform "A Salute to the Armed Forces," a 75-minute concert beginning at 7 p.m. All donations will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.
Band director Norm Caulkins said his students have been working on concert tunes since January and many of the selections will be familiar to most people. Caulkins originally wanted to do the concert last year but resurfacing of the gym flooring delayed it.
Gary Brice, a past commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9946 in Atwater, will be the event's master of ceremonies. He hopes a large number of military veterans will attend the concert and support the Wounded Warrior Project.
"I think it's wonderful," Brice said. "It's (Caulkins') way to get something positive for the city, to get our mind off other things. I love the Atwater High School band; it gives me goose pimples to hear them in parades. I hope to make it through without crying."
Brice, who spent 22 years in the Air Force before he retired as a master sergeant, is a past commander of the local VFW post.
Samantha Smith, a junior, plays the piccolo and the flute. She said the concert is "really a great cause" and that members of the armed forces deserve recognition. Her father served in the U.S. Navy.
"The patriotic songs are fun to play," Smith said. "They are pretty lively and get people in a patriotic mood."
Andres Sandoval, a junior, plays the baritone saxophone and will play Monday night.
"I think it's a good way to give back to the community," Sandoval said, "and commemorate those who have served our country."
Caulkins' grandfather served in World War I and his father and uncles served in World War II. He is hoping his father, Ralph Caulkins of Ceres, will attend Monday's concert.
Caulkins directed a similar but less extensive patriotic concert at Orestimba High School in Newman.
A military open house featuring armed forces recruiters and the Castle Air Museum will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. in the school's quad.
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or email@example.com.