, Salem, MA

Local News

March 15, 2013

Headed for Fifth Avenue

Danvers band will march in NYC St. Patrick's parade


To prepare for their performance in front of 2 million parade-goers, the band stood during rehearsal yesterday and marched in place.

“We are Danvers Falcons from Danvers, Mass.!” they chanted as if yelling to the crowd.

Parsons paced at the front of the room while drum majors Erin Burgess and Chris Demirdogen directed the band.

During the section rehearsal, the lone quint drum player present, senior Andrew Garcia, kept time with his snare and cowbell, as he’ll do during the parade.

“It’s really stressful,” Garcia said of the pressure of keeping the rhythm when no one is playing. “It’s a lot, but it’s also really repetitive ... so once you get it, you’ve got it.”

“Now that the music is finished, it’s just a matter of maintaining musical and physical endurance to march the 21/2-mile parade,” Parsons said.

On Sunday, the band marched five miles around the Woodvale neighborhood adjacent to the high school. The rehearsal was double the parade route, and that gave the band confidence, Parsons said.

“The payoff is a successful parade,” he said of all the work. Many of the band members know how to prepare for big parades, having marched in the Waikiki Holiday Parade in Hawaii at the end of 2011 and the Rose Parade in Pasadena in 2010.

This band trip is a bonus for seniors — one of the largest senior classes to graduate from the band — who thought their last trip was to Hawaii last year. Normally, the band travels on a big trip every other year. This year, the band won an open invitation to march in the New York parade, Parsons said. The band last marched in the parade 10 years ago.

“We haven’t been to New York on a trip,” said tenor sax player and senior Rachel Ziner. “We went to Pasadena, then we went to Hawaii, and just as a little going-away present, Mr. Parsons surprised us with New York.”

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