2014 National Memorial Day Parade

Success with many memories!

The 2014 National Memorial Day Parade was a great success.  All of the students and chaperons had a great time.

Click HERE to view the performance of the band in the parade.

Mr. Smith provided this very touching update on Sunday night:
Hi all,

As strange as it feels, I actually have a minute to myself and wanted to share some of our trip with you.  Things have been fantastic!  (Except for the traffic...)  We arrived safely, though a bit late, Friday evening and enjoyed a quiet night at the hotel.  Saturday was very busy with the obligatory sightseeing, but, more importantly, some wonderful musical experiences.  We had the distinct privilege of working with Col. Arnold Gabriel who lived up to and exceeded every expectation I had.  The students played wonderfully and the addition of his input instantly brought the students to a higher level.  I could not have been prouder to hear our concert band perform so musically under such an esteemed conductor.  Our performance at the WWII memorial was a very strong performance though it certainly came with it's challenges - sun glare, wind, and the roar of fountains behind them didn't stop our students from achieving a musical performance that hundreds had the opportunity to hear.  As if that was not enough for the day, we capped off the evening with an incredible concert from the VA Grand Military conducted by Col. Gabriel.  The students had already fallen in love with him, but to hear his own ensemble perform such a moving concert program for Memorial Day weekend truly touched all that were in attendance.

 This morning we were able to place a wreath on the grave of John Philip Sousa and reflect on what impact we as musicians can have in others lives just as Sousa did on the military.  Quoting Theodore Roosevelt, we asked that students always "do what you can, with what you have, where you are."  We as musicians can give our everything to our musical performances for the betterment of others and tomorrow is yet another opportunity to do just that.

 To say that Washington is hectic on Memorial Day weekend would be an understatement.  We've had to tweak our itinerary from time to time to accommodate the increased traffic which includes 6,000 or so motorcycles that are part of "Rolling Thunder," which is quite the spectacle to see drive by!  But even if our sight-seeing has to be altered along the way, we remember that we are here to honor our veterans through music and tomorrow in the parade we are sure to do that.  We'll let the Band sleep in a bit tomorrow to make sure they are ready for the big show.  Having already driven down Constitution Ave and seeing just how big it is, I know it will be a proud moment when we turn onto that parade route.

 As always, the students have been complimented on their behavior and manners along the way, our chaperones have been stopped many times with compliments for the students.

 We can't wait for tomorrow.  It will be a moment tomorrow remember!


Ned F. Smith

Band Director

Coventry High School

Coventry, CT