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San Fernando High Needs Help to Replace Stolen Tubas PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alex Garcia   
Thursday, 28 February 2013 07:50

CHRISTIAN SOTELO/SAN FERNANDO HIGH SCHOOL

A fundraiser is being planned for San Fernando High to replace two tubas that were stolen from the campus.

School musical director Sergio "Checo" Alonso said the instruments were taken "the weekend before the Super Bowl," between Jan. 26 and 27. Each tuba is worth about $6,000.

"There was a break-in. They got into two rooms, 727 and 730. They used a crowbar to pry open the door," Alonso said. "In the first room, they left guitars, violins. They broke into another room where they took the two sousaphones (tubas) we use in the marching band."

Alonso said he went into the music rooms on Saturday of that weekend and didn't notice anything wrong. He estimates the theft occurred between Sunday and Monday morning.

"It was a nice, clean crowbar hit. It was kind of difficult for one guy to do it. It was raining hard that weekend and that helped them (the thieves)", he said.

One theory is that the instruments are melted for their brass, which has gone up in price in recent years. "But if that's what they wanted, they would have had a much easier time taking the trumpets and trombones and get a lot more brass," said Alonso.

Another idea is that the tubas are sold in some type of black market for the instruments, which are much sought after in the banda groups — Mexican dance music using marching band instruments, where tubas play a central role.

The use of tubas is very popular among marching bands and banda groups, Alonso said. "They're stealing and reselling to the banda groups here in Los Angeles or take them back to Mexico where they're much more expensive," he added.

San Fernando becomes the latest victim of tuba-stealing thieves that have also hit schools in South Gate, Bell, Whittier, Huntington Park, Fremont, Centennial (Compton), Jordan, and Manhattan Beach.

Alonso said the theft comes at a time of shrinking budgets and limited resources. Replacing the tubas won't be easy.

"We don't have much to begin with and now we're having to replace two tubas. It's trying on the spirit," Alonso said.

The theft has been devastating for students, Alonso noted. "Emotionally, the kids say this is messed up," he said.

"Music in San Fernando has been riding sky high recently because of the Mariachi Master Apprentice Program (that won a prestigious national award last year and was even recognized at the White House).

Some of the same students in the Mariachi group are also in the marching band. Ernesto Lazaro and I took a picture with the First Lady (Michelle Obama). He's one of the singers in the group and he's also our tuba player.

"One minute, they interview you about being at the White House and the next about the tubas getting swiped."

The school is planning its fundraising event at an El Torito restaurant in April. For those who would like to send a donation, call the school at (818) 898-7600 and ask for Sergio Alonso.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 28 February 2013 07:52