For 26 years, the Cayucos Lions Club and Cayucos Elementary School have saluted America during February in recognition of Presidents Day and Flag Day. The public is invited to attend the program from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday in the school auditorium.
“The program was started by Lou Barnes and Al Musso, who can’t be with us this year,” organizing club member Adrian Hurtado said. “Matt Franklin, our current president, will speak. Last year’s president, Jerry Dobyns, will introduce the patriotic songs by the Morro Bay White Caps Community Band.”
Also on the program is a color guard, a flag-folding demonstration and a performance by Susan Mathias’ fourth-grade class.
Another patriotic tradition is the Morro Bay White Caps Community Band. Ed and Bernice Smith began the band soon after moving to Morro Bay in 1973, after they attended a Fourth of July celebration without music.
Ed Smith’s father was a band director in San Diego schools and raised his five boys to each play a horn.
Ed Smith was the director of the Morro Bay White Caps Community Band for
18 years and Bernice Smith carried the sheet music. They played at patriotic events throughout the county.
“Music was our life,” the late Bernice Smith told me for a Tribune column I wrote in June 2009. Ed Smith added: “One day a visitor gave us $1,000 because he was so impressed our little city had a community band.”
Today, Carol Johnston is the band’s director, after someone found out she was a band director in overseas schools, she said.
“We want to have fun playing our music. All ages are welcome.”
Although the band still performs mostly in Morro Bay, it also performs on Flag Day in Cayucos and at Del Mar School in June, at the San Luis Obispo Hunger Walk, and on opening day of the Morro Bay Yacht Club. In addition, it plays at 11 a.m. every other Saturday from June through August at the Embarcadero chess board.
Band members practice every Saturday at 10 a.m. at either the Morro Bay Veterans Hall or Community Center. The band has 20 to 25 countywide members, but would prefer 30.
“It’s a great place to learn to play, and we welcome anyone to sit in,” Johnston said. “Some folks who haven’t played since high school have picked it right back up. We’d love to have more students join in. Drummers are always needed, but they must read music.”
She indicated that Grayson Williams, the director who followed Ed Smith, arranged most of the band’s music, including Souza marches, “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and other patriotic tunes.
“They are not hard for musicians to learn to play.”
If interested, Johnston said, “Bring an instrument and come have fun.”
For questions, contact her at 528-6688 or Kevin Daugherty, email@example.com.