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Hollywood High Band Finally Invited To Hollywood Christmas Parade

November 22, 1990

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The Hollywood High School marching band, once so bad the chamber of commerce banned it from playing in the Hollywood Christmas Parade, returns this year with snappy new uniforms and renewed spirit.

On Sunday, the band will join other bands, floats and performers in the 1990 parade after an eight-year absence.

It has been a long road back to respectability for the band, which at one point lacked enough members to form the ″H″ in Hollywood.

″This is going to be our crowning glory,″ said band director Joe Montgomery. ″Two years ago, we had seven people.″

The band now boasts 99 members, although only 50 will participate in the parade. For all its progress, the band has only enough red-white-and-silver uniforms to outfit half of its members.

The band has not played in the parade since 1982. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event, said the band failed to measure up to parade standards.

The school’s exclusion from the parade had been a source of embarrassment. For decades, the band traditionally led the parade.

Eighty percent of Hollywood High’s 2,000 students are immigrants who struggle with English and work after school to help support their families.

″They had so many ethnic groups, no one wanted to play an instrument. ... All they wanted to do was study,″ said parade chairman John Golden.

Montgomery was undaunted by the diversity and language barriers when he took over as director three years ago. He quickly began recruiting musicians.

Among those marching in the parade Sunday will be a Chinese trumpet player, a Vietnamese drummer, a Hungarian drum majorette, an Armenian bell player and a Salvadoran saxophonist.

Montgomery said the band has no intention of resting on its laurels.

″Next year,″ he said, ″we would like to lead the parade.″

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