Ryan Seacrest visits DB

Ryan Seacrest honors Steve Acciani at the event.

Sarah Markiewicz, Staff Writer

With Grammy recognition comes high status celebrities and accelerated fundraising for the Diamond Bar High School Music Program. On Nov. 11 students of all niches flocked to the school’s parking lot to watch KIIS FM deejay and American Idol host Ryan Seacrest bestow the Music Educator Award on Music Director Steve Acciani.

After entertainers from KIIS FM and from DBHS’s own instrumental music program warmed the crowds up in preparation for the big event, Grammy Foundation Honorary Chairman Seacrest arrived to speak in honor of Acciani and present him with the award.
The Grammy Foundation only gives the Music Educator Award to 25 music teachers throughout the country who have qualified as semifinalists. This December, Acciani has the chance of being named as one of the program’s finalists, and may have his name announced at the Grammy Awards ceremony next year if he is selected as the winner.

Following the awards presentation, DBHS initiated the Drive 4 UR School fundraising event. The DBHS student body’s own Will Nazareno and Bridget Pei, both seniors and members of the music program, were hand chosen to accompany Seacrest on the two first rides of the day. While Pei was able to drive the car (and order from In-N-Out in the process) Nazareno rode shotgun since he does not have his license.

“I was genuinely confused and caught off guard and was definitely in shock from when he called my name,” said Nazareno, who plays the sousaphone for the marching band (Thundering Herd) and is also a member of Marquis.

In order to coordinate the fundraising, DBHS worked with Ford Motor Company and Fairway Ford. This Drive 4 UR School fundraiser gave $20 to the school’s music program whenever an attendee took a spin on one of various available models, which included the Fusion and the Explorer. Because of the event, DBHS’s music program had the capability of receiving up to $6,000 dollars of donations in one day.

“The car testing will definitely help us as a program,” said junior Lesley Dea, who plays the alto saxophone in wind ensemble and marching band. “We may be in a well off community, but bands always in need of money for repairs and teachers, so it’ll help reduce the need for fundraisers and help us pay off debts for band fees and what not.”

For the majority of attending students who were not able to participate in the test drive, the festive atmosphere of the event and the ability to see a celebrity still made the event worthwhile. While Seacrest was only able to attend the six-hour event for about two hours, the crowds were able to enjoy the performances by the DBHS marching band, orchestra, and wind ensemble; dance to popular tunes like “Happy;” and buy food from the available food trucks.

Acciani himself had another crowning moment when he joined several other band members and drummer Johnny Vatos of Oingo Boingo to play an instrumental version of the band’s Halloween time favorite “Dead Man’s Party,” to which Acciani played the saxophone.

“The Grammy Award uplifts our departments’ countless hours of work as well as our brilliant and dedicated staff members,” Nazareno said.