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Saturday, October 1, 2016

Then & Now: Highland Theatre & Franklin High Band

Franklin High School Band, 1936 | Photo from Virginia Neely Collection

Franklin High School Band, May 17, 2011 | Photo by Escott O.Norton

By Nicole Possert

For some unknown special opening in 1936, the Franklin High School Band stood in front of the Highland Theatre and had their picture taken.  March forward seventy five years. Last week, the Franklin High band of 2011, as part of the relighting the Historic Signs of Figueroa Street event, stood again in front of the theater and posed for a portrait. It marked the many years of history shared by Highland Park and Franklin High,  and the ongoing tradition of bands bringing music front and center in community life.

Franklin High School’s band director, Veronica Gonzales, said the students were eager to participate in a “then and now” photo shoot after seeing the historic black and white photo.  The original photo is from the photo collection of local historian Virginia Neely and adorns the cover of the current photographic history book “Images of America: Highland Park” by Charles Fisher and the Highland Park Heritage Trust.

For some reason, today’s band no longer contains an accordion but they do have beautiful uniforms.  Highland Park still has its small town appeal.



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  1. what a wonderful then and now photo!!! the light event was great too. as for the band these students put so much time and effort in to what they are today. I am asking the community to help out in any they can to help the Franklin High Band purchase a new Tuba. They have been fundraising on theri own, so they could use all the help they can get!!!! If any one would like to make a donation they can contact the School directly.

  2. How wonderful for our community to have young musicians who can be a part of the heritage of Highland Park. By supporting this group, and their teacher, in the face of catastrophic cuts in the music, arts, drama, and other “electives”, we demonstrate to the LAUSD Board of Education that we understand the place such learning holds in the development of future leaders in our community. Hurrah!

  3. LOVE this! I hope the band prints out a poster of this to sell at some future date.

  4. I heard FHS band will be eliminated for 2011-12 school year. I hope it’s NOT true! Back in 1980 FHS band was over 120 members strong. Students need music, art, wood, auto and all the other electives to augment their core subjects to enrich their academic success!

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