EVANS, Ga. (AP) - Some 100 members of the Virginia Tech marching band played in a memorial service Saturday for bandmate Ryan Clark, who was remembered as a gregarious young man who went out of his way to make fellow students feel important and included.
Clark, a 22-year-old native of Martinez, Georgia, was one of the first victims of Seung-Hui Cho, the brooding loner who murdered 32 people on campus before killing himself.
Hundreds of mourners packed the gym at Clark's former high school to hear rousing songs from his former bandmates and often cheerful praise for the young man who engaged everybody and had a contagious laughter.
Band director David McKee said "That's how Ryan was. He was the type of person that gave his all."
Clark, a resident adviser in the dormitory where the shooting spree started, was in his fifth year in the Marching Virginians band at Virginia Tech, which traveled to this small eastern Georgia town for the service at Lakeside High School, where Clark and his twin brother, Bryan, graduated in 2002.
Before the service started, the high school's gym was packed with people wearing maroon-and-orange ribbons, Virginia Tech's colors, or green ribbons, Clark's favorite color.
Jeff Czech, one of the planned speakers and a longtime friend of Clark's who played in the high school band with him, said that he was still in shock.
Czech said "He didn't deserve this to happen to him, but he did deserve today to have the band and everyone who's here in support of him."
Clark's funeral is planned for Monday at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Augusta.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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