Leader Blues

Friday, July 07, 2006

TOP STORY >> Band high steps in Washington

Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: Cabot High School Band marched and played before a national audience during the national Independence Day Parade down Constitution Avenue in the U.S. capital.

The Cabot High School Band made its national debut during the Independence Day Parade in Washington Tuesday. Cabot had 168 band members in the mile-long parade playing for 90 minutes for more than 250,000 spectators.

“It’s quite a feeling to be standing on Constitution Avenue, playing patriotic music on the Fourth of July,” said Cabot High School Band director Joe Trusty. The band performed “Tribute to America,” a medley of “God Bless America” and “This Is My Country.”

Forty adults accompanied the students to Washington, including Mark Tenney, assistant band director at Cabot High School, and the junior high band directors John Prater, Kara Reynolds, Erica Hahn and Janet Granderson.

“It was a good experience,” said trumpet player Daniel Gates, 18.

“I definitely want to go back because we only saw half the things up there,” Gates said.

The students have been preparing for the trip since December to raise the $130,000 needed for the trip, as well as practicing twice a week since school got out.

Even with the most rigorous training, marching with instruments, in full uniform in the 94-degree temperature proved too much for a handful of students who had to step out of the parade to rest.

“I think every band there had people stepping out. I could not have been more proud of our students,” Trusty said.
There was plenty of fun and sightseeing once the group arrived in the nation’s capital.

On Monday, the band placed a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers in Arlington National Cemetery.
“That was the most moving experience in my life. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place,” said Doug Gates, Daniel’s father and chaperone.

“The kids were great. They were well behaved, patient and flexible whenever we had a rain delay here or a traffic jam there,” Gates said.

After the parade, the group rested before another round of sightseeing and watching the fireworks display over the National Mall.

“I’ve been to Disney World on the Fourth of July, and that fireworks display was nothing compared to what we saw in Washington,” said Tom Lieblong, one of the parents on the trip. His son Joshua also plays trumpet.

“It was the first time to travel for a lot of those kids and it was a great trip,” Lieblong said.