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Breakfast with Santa: Baker County Friends of the Intstrumental Arts

School band directors Mike Warren, left, and Matthew Jernigan with Vinnie Ferreira as Santa.Baker County Friends of the Instrumental Arts held its annual Breakfast with Santa event at the middle school cafeteria December 10.

It marks the fifth year of the event, according to  Steve Gaylord, who heads the group’s board of directors. The breakfast showcases the middle school and high school bands.

Breakfast With Santa is designed as a family-friendly event and this year’s program highlights included children’s photos with Santa Claus starring Vinnie Ferreira as the guy in the red suit.

A fun moment occurred when high school band director Mike Warren and middle school band director Matthew Jernigan surprised Santa by posing on his lap for a photo together.

Taylor Hartley and Alan GaryKids also got a chance to chat and have photos made with Taylor Hartley, former Baker County High School majorette and current majorette for the University of Florida. Christmas movies were showing in the auditorium for anyone wanting to take them in and there were also chances to win lots of door prizes.

Members of the BCFIA group and other volunteers served breakfast featuring sausage, bacon, eggs, biscuits, gravy, a fresh fruit bar, juice and coffee. After the meal, attendees filled the auditorium for a chance to hear guest speaker Alan Gary, a drum major in the University of Florida marching band.

He spoke about the opportunities that participating in band can provide and encouraged current middle school band students to follow through with their music to high school and beyond.

“Being in the band provides you a great opportunity for personal development, teamwork and leadership skills,” he told the audience. “Not to mention the chance to travel.”

Band members from both schools performed several holiday selections, but before starting, the BCFIA presented the middle school with brand new instrument – a xylophone.

Mr. Jernigan admitted to the challenge and the fun of assembling the instrument prior to the concert. Both he and Mr. Warren expressed their gratitude for organizations like the BCFIA.

“This is my first teaching job,” said Mr. Jernigan. “I’m delighted about coming into a community like this where there is such a strong support group for the school band program. It’s a perfect experience for a new teacher and I feel really lucky.”

“And I think the middle school band program is in good hands,” said Mr. Warren.

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