KAPOLEI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Many are still counting their losses from the tsunami alert. Evacuations came as a huge disappointment to the Kapolei High School marching band. Bandmembers were in the middle of their biggest fundraiser of the year - when they were ordered to leave their event.
It's the height of high school marching band season, and the Kapolei Hurricanes had been prepping to host last Saturday's "Battle of the Bands" for months. Schools from across Oahu compete, and as hosts, this was Kapolei's moment to shine.
The festival hadn't even made it to intermission when the tsunami alert went out. The only horns they heard after that were the sounds of sirens. The show did not go on.
"Being a senior, being in this band, there's a lot to be proud of, and it was pretty, like I said, heartbreaking," says band President Armon Coronel.
Months of practice and parent-volunteer work were gone within minutes. The school's stadium – filled with a dozen high school marching bands, including thousands of students, parents, and supporters - were told to leave.
The annual festival marks the band's major fundraiser where they earn as much as $20,000. Not only did they not "make" money, they lost thousands on concessions. Band concessions chairwoman, Ivy Espiritu, says, "We had wasted a lot of food. Concession is the major expense for this event. So, whatever parents could pack, the rest we threw away."
The reality is: safety comes first - something the disappointed kids, ultimately, understand. "We had a talk with them, just to say, 'This is a life lesson. You know, not everything's going to go how you think it's going to go. So, you've got to adjust and make the best of it'," says Kapolei high band director, Daryl Agena.
Despite the disappointment, the band will take the field and perform Thursday evening as a thank you to their supporters. They say the setback only makes them work harder.
"We're super pumped," says trumpet player, Deven Espiritu. "Just like, show everybody what we got. Show the pride that we do have."
In the end, even a tsunami can't keep these Hurricanes down.