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MHS band to march in D.C. St. Patrick's Day parade
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The Martinsville High School Bulldog Marching Band will perform Sunday in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Washington, D.C. At left, the band marches in Richmond. (Contributed photo)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

Part of the Martinsville High School Bulldog Marching Band will perform Sunday in the 43rd annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Washington, D.C

Sixty-seven band students who wanted to go and about 13 adults will take the three-day trip, according to Kevin Lewis, MHS director of bands. The marching band had about 110 students in all this year, he added.

This will be the band’s third appearance in the parade. The band previously performed in 2001 and 2010, Lewis said. It was named best band in parade in 2010, he added.

More than 100 marching bands, military units, dance schools, floats and a variety of other groups and organizations participate in the parade each year, according to the website of the nonprofit organization that puts it on.

“There is something about marching down Constitution Avenue in front of all the monuments that is different than any other, and I hope kids will remember,” Lewis said.

The Bulldog Marching Band was selected for the parade through an application process, he said.

“Musically, the kids will have the opportunity to perform in our nation’s capital and look forward to representing our community and school,” Lewis said.

“We always relish the chance to perform locally, but I hope the kids will receive encouragement from the crowds along Constitution Avenue and the National Mall,” Lewis said. “This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many, and as an educator, I get just as excited to be a part of these kind of performances.”

“I am very excited,” said Drum Major Sami Easley. “It’s our last senior trip, so I’m expecting big things. I’m looking forward to the parade itself, marching down the street, being able to show off (what a band from this part of the state can do) ... to show that we have a really great band program, showing off our skills.”

“It’s an honor to be able march in the capital (in the parade). Not all bands are selected,” said Brooke Mason, an MHS senior who plays trombone. “We’re doing great in practice.”

The itinerary shows the band departing at 4:30 a.m. Friday and arriving in Washington at 10:30 a.m.

Sight-seeing and other activities are planned on Friday and Saturday.

“Students will get the chance to hear a world-class orchestra at the Kennedy Center,” Lewis said. “Our seats have been upgraded, and the National Symphony will perform one of my favorite pieces, ‘The Pines of Rome’ by Ottorino Respighi. This is the very dynamic piece featured in Disney’s ‘Fantasia 2000’ that animated the whales who take flight.”

The students also will see the Washington Wizards play

the Brooklyn Nets.

“The NBA game will be a highlight, and simply navigating through the city will be an education for many of the students,” Lewis said.

The parade will be from noon to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, according to a news release from the St. Patrick’s Parade Committee of Washington, D.C.

The band plans to return Sunday night.

The total cost of the trip is $23,500, Lewis said. The per-student cost is about $300, but students raised about $13,000 in profit from selling $25,000 in fruit to help pay costs, he added. Students were responsible for the balance after all fund-raising was done, Lewis said.

“Adults pay the same as kids, most times out of pocket,” he said.

The Bulldog Marching Band also performed in the inaugural parade for Gov. Terry McAuliffe in January.


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