Alaska-rooted Portugal. The Man surprised Anchorage high school with live concert

a group of people perform music on stage on a football field
The band Portugal. The Man surprised students and performed a few songs at Dimond High School in Anchorage on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. The school’s student government won a district-wide video contest sharing what students were most excited about for being back at school. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Students at Dimond High School in Anchorage got a big surprise on Thursday afternoon: a concert by the Alaska-rooted band Portugal. The Man on their football field.

The school’s student government won a district-wide video contest by sharing what made students most excited about returning to school. Thursday was their third day back in class.

a group of people pose for a photo on a football field with a novelty size check
Dimond High School students pose with the band Portugal. The Man on Aug. 19, 2021, after a surprise performance on the school’s football field. The school’s student government won a district-wide video contest sharing what students were most excited about for being back at school. In addition to the surprise show, the student government received a $5,000 check and all students received free tickets to the Alaska State Fair and upcoming Portugal. The Man concert. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Portugal. The Man’s bassist, Zach Carothers from Wasilla, said it was a fun spur-of-the-moment concert.

“I didn’t know it was gonna be the whole school actually. I also don’t like being too prepared, you know? I like to wing it,” he said. “And so we came in today and just decided to play a few songs for the students. It was fun being on the field, like I said, this’ll be the closest we get to doing a halftime show. This feels right.”

a group of people in the stands above a track & field
Masked students and staff at Dimond High School applaud during a surprise show from the band Portugal. The Man on Aug. 19, 2021. The school’s student government won a district-wide video contest sharing what students were most excited about for being back at school. In addition to the surprise show, the student government received a $5,000 check and all students received free tickets to the Alaska State Fair and upcoming Portugal. The Man concert. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Dimond High’s student government also won a $5,000 check and the entire school got free tickets to the Alaska State Fair and the upcoming Portugal. The Man concert. 

Makaila Amundson, president of the student government, said her parents are big fans of the band.

a person signs another person's shirt
John Gourley of the band Portugal. The Man signs a Dimond High School student’s shirt after a surprise performance at the school on Aug. 19, 2021. The school’s student government won a district-wide video contest sharing what students were most excited about for being back at school. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

“So it’s cool that I got to see them and my parents didn’t,” she said. “So they’re gonna see them at the fair on Saturday, but I’ll see them at the fair tomorrow, because they passed out tickets to everyone. So that’s super cool and I think it was cool that it was a surprise to everyone.”

a student receives a guitar gift from a band
Dimond High School student JD was gifted an autographed guitar for dancing during a surprise show from the band Portugal. The Man on Aug. 19, 2021. The school’s student government won a district-wide video contest sharing what students were most excited about for being back at school. In addition to the surprise show, the student government received a $5,000 check and all students received free tickets to the Alaska State Fair and Portugal. The Man’s upcoming concert. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Portugal. The Man also gave away an autographed guitar to a student named JD, who danced while the band played. Other school groups that entered the contest will receive $500 and free tickets to both the state fair and the band’s upcoming concert.

Guitarist Eric Howk, who also grew up in Wasilla, said he feels good about playing outdoor concerts during the current spike in coronavirus cases. He asked everyone to please stay masked and get vaccinated. 

“Alaska State Fair 2021,” he said while playing a guitar riff. “Let’s do it.”

people pose for a selfie in front of a stage on a school field
Dimond High School’s student body president Makaila Amundson (left) snaps a selfie with Portugal. The Man band members John Gourley, Zach Carothers, and Eric Howk. The school’s student government won a district-wide video contest sharing what students were most excited about for being back at school. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)
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