Skip to content

Hawaii Trip 2012 Update

March 16, 2015
On Wednesday, March 12, Calliope Ope Saaga, the travel agent for the Willard Band trip to Hawaii in 2012, received the maximum sentence under the law.  We was sentenced to 60 months in prison, 3 years of probation, and was ordered to repay or make payments on ALL monies back to not only the Willard Band Boosters but also the Band Programs in Fort Smith and West Memphis, Arkansas. His sentencing hearing in Arkansas is scheduled for March 30, 2015.

Willard Band Trip 2012 Participants

March 2, 2015
On Wednesday, March 11, 2015, at 2:30 pm in the Federal Courthouse on John Q Hammons Parkway in Springfield, the Sentencing Hearing will be held for Mr. Ope Calliope Saaga in connection with the Willard Band trip to Hawaii in 2012.  This hearing if open to the public and we encourage you to attend. Please understand that this is not an “open forum” for comments. As promised I will be there to make a statement on behalf of all of the victims in this case.
Chris Church

Hawaii Trip 2012 Participant Request

October 21, 2014
ATTENTION TO ALL HAWAII 2012 PARTICIPANTS. Please email Mr. Church the following information if you were a participant (student or adult) on the Hawaii 2012 trip.
Send information to:
1) Participants full name: i.e. Christopher Michael Church
2) email address
3) cell phone and/or home phone number

Hawaii 2012 Trip Update

October 16, 2014
Hello everyone,
Just a short update on today’s court proceedings….our former travel agent Ope Saaga did enter his plea of “guilty” in the case of the band trip to Hawaii 2012.  There was a plea bargain agreement entered into the records the contents of which I do not know anything about.  It should be made public later on today or tomorrow.
After speaking with the US Attorney he told me that the sentencing hearing should take place in appr 8-12 weeks.  Sorry there is nothing else to report at this time but that is really about it.
When I know more I will be sure to pass it on to everyone.
Take care,

Hawaii 2012 Update

September 16, 2014

Willard Band Parents: We were notified today that Ope Saaga, our travel agent in the Hawaii 2012 Band Trip, will be entering his guilty plea in Court on October 15, at 9:30 am. Chris Church will still be our lead person concerning our case and will be there to testify and to represent everyone as he has done from the beginning of this situation. You are more than welcome to come and be present but in these types of cases there is no “open dialogue” in court. We appreciate your continued support and will keep you informed.

Victoria Meraz

Exciting News and Events!

August 7, 2014

Good afternoon! 

We want to remind you of our annual end of camp Band Blow-Out. This event will be held tomorrow evening, August 8, in the Willard High School Gym at 6:00 pm. Afterward the Willard Band Boosters will be hosting a meet and greet ice cream social in the Commons so you may visit, see apparel options, join Band Boosters and sign up to help during the school year with all our events.

Another exciting thing happening in our program is the creation of the Willard Band Website! In addition to Charms, we also have created a band website that is scheduled to launch TOMORROW. We will be using the website and Charms to communicate all future information and will no longer use this band blog. We will, however, keep the blog “alive” if you need to access any previous info. You will be able to access Charms, the new band apparel website (which also launches tomorrow!) and various other band related links through this website.

Please visit our new website at 

Take care and we look forward to seeing you tomorrow evening!

The Willard Band Staff

Thank you to everyone

May 20, 2014

I wanted to send out this small thank you to each and every one of you for all of the very kind and humbling words sent to me via notes, thank you’s, Facebook posts, cards, emails, gift cards, words of wisdom, sharing of band & drum corps memories, the reception on Sunday, the chain of thoughts and memories from students, cakes, baskets of goodies, and the list goes on.

I am who I am due to your influence in my life from birth, through my years attending school and college, my teaching career, time in drum corps, and the countless numbers of those I’ve had the pleasure to teach and be taught by. Students, colleagues, parents, family and friends, and phamily and phriends, you have all had a major impact on my life in the past, present, and wherever this life leads me from here.

As I prepare for my last day at Willard on Friday and then accompany the choir on their trip I am ever so humbled by all of your words and deeds. I thank you so, so much, and God Bless you all.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 180 other followers