Map of Tonga in the South Pacific

Map of Tonga in the South Pacific

Monday, June 13, 2011

June 2, 2011: Fire the cannon! It’s the Opening of Parliament!

It’s the tradition for the high school and college students to line the streets of Nuku’alofa as the King and the Parliament members come to open Parliament. Since Jim’s school, TIST, would be involved, he was able to walk to town with me so we could see it all unfold. As we walked we saw various schools gathering for the march. The bands were warming up. Vendors were beginning to set up tables. 
TIST students gather before the parade.

The police officers all donned their dress uniforms.

Band members and students getting ready.
As the march began, the drum major and the band from each school would lead the students, and often a banner was held proclaiming the school. Again, what organization! We watched as students marched (The cadence was called out: left, right, left, right, left) in columns of four. They would then line the street at assigned spots and wait for the rest to get into place.
Here comes the band!

A drum major leads with all the right moves, and the band follows suit.

This band stopped to give a special performance.

Some of the bands were real crowd pleasers with their music and moves. A few of the teachers couldn’t contain themselves and threw in a few moves of their own.
Students in front, audience behind.
 At last we heard the cannon fire several times and we knew the King would be coming. He drove by and the students stood. (He came by too quickly for me to get a photo.)  Soon afterwards the columns again began to form and the bands led the school groups to complete the procession.

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