ATWATER -- Eighty-two students and adults from Atwater High School came back from Hawaii with more than the usual tourist souvenirs.
Members of the Falcon Band took part in the Hawaiian International Music Festival April 1-7 in Honolulu and brought home more first-place trophies than any other competing music department, Band Director Norm Caulkins said.
Sixty-eight band members and 14 adults participated, the third time the school has been invited to the tropical festival.
"The trip is a fantastic trip for the students," Caulkins said. "Along with all the festival activities the students saw an extinct volcano, hiked up Diamond Head, saw the only royal palace in the United States, saw tropical fish up close and personal, visited the aquarium run by the University of Hawaii, visited the Arizona Memorial and the battleship Missouri."
First place awards were won by the choir ensemble, jazz band, concert band, marching band and auxiliary. Faith Taylor took first place for a vocal solo, and Liz Magana took a first place drum major award.
The winter guard took second place along with the winter percussion unit, Caulkins said.
Selena Wooten, band president, said this was her second trip to Hawaii.
"The band, color guard and winter percussion also did spectacular and brought home an array of trophies," Wooten said. "Being a sen-ior in band, this experience was something that has made my year as well as high school experience amazing.
"I will certainly never forget it and being with my friends in one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen is so much more than I could ever ask for."
Elena England, the band's vice president, said going to Hawaii was a great way to conclude her senior year.
"Along with all the great activities I was able to do, the band, winter percussion and guard did a fantastic job with the competition and brought home many trophies," England said.