A marching band highlights the Kiwanis St. Helens Community Parade as part of the city’s 130th birthday celebration. The 204th Army Band, based in Vancouver, Wash. will perform in the parade June 15, according to Kiwanis member Jack Graff.

The band is part of the 88th Regional Support command based in Vancouver and is part of the Army Reserve.

St. Helens Kiwanis Club has long sought to add a marching band to the annual parade, Graff said. Members worked over the last year to secure the band’s commitment.

“You’ve got work on these things for months and months in advance,” Graff said.

The annual parade begins at noon on Saturday, June 15. Parade participants assemble at Columbia Boulevard and Milton Way and travel down Columbia Boulevard to the waterfront district.

Bands played an integral part in the American military since colonial times. According to the Army’s website, the first appearance of a military band occurred in 1756 when fife players and other musicians accompanied Col. Benjamin Franklin’s artillery regiment.

Early military bands played at ceremonies and other special occasions and consisted of “six to eight musicians performing on oboes, clarinets, horns and bassoons.” Brass instruments were added to bands in the 1830s.

Since then, bands have become an integral part of military ceremonies.

For more information, contact Don Patterson at, Ketchgaff@yahoo.com, or at 503-369-9574, or Egbert Mabel, 204th Army Band at, 360-885-7020.

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