Staples band prepares for Memorial Day parade after long wait

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Photo contributed by Dan Woog’s blog “06880”

Staples High School marches in the Memorial Day parade in 1971.

 

The Westport Memorial Day parade is a tradition which honors military personnel who have served in the United States armed forces. This year, the Staples Band plans to maintain a practice, many decades-long, of marching in the Memorial Day parade in downtown Westport. 

This tradition is special to members of the Staples band, helps honor those in the community and celebrates all of the band’s achievements.The lead-up to this event takes weeks of preparation and hard work from both students and administrators. 

Phillip Giampietro, the band instructor at Staples, uses a passionate approach in his teaching as he trains the band to march in the parade. 

“Marching band is a whole new world for all of us compared to symphonic music so it’s certainly a change, but Mr. G helps us to adapt to that,” Peter Moody ’22 said. “The band is working hard to prepare and I’m sure come parade day it will look like a well oiled machine.”

During practices for the marching band, the band uses the outdoor track to improve their footwork. 

One of the most memorable things from that was the way the town was so enthusiastic and so excited to see students achieve something at such a high level and it really made the whole band’s hard work pay off. From that experience, I can say that I’m excited and ready for our hard work to pay off this year. ”

— Delaney Mcgee ’23

“The turns on the track are where we get slipped up the most, because it requires the person on the outside to take longer strides and the person on the inside to take shorter strides,” Alex Marcus-Malone ’22 said. 

Despite the effortlessness seen on Memorial Day, the performance requires an ability to multitask, which is no small feat.

 “We have to memorize a piece that we are learning. It is a piece that has all of the military theme songs combined,” Alex St.Andre ’24 said. “Then we have to learn how to march in unison and respond to commands from Mr. G.” 

Last year the Staples band combined with the middle school marching band, and in 2020 the parade was canceled due to COVID-19. This year is an opportunity for Staples students, specifically upperclassmen, to experience traditional marching in the parade before graduating. 

“Our first two memorial parades were rained out, so we didn’t march in the parade until eighth grade,” Marcus-Malone said. “Tenth grade the pandemic canceled it, and last year we combined with the middle school, so I’ve only had one normal marching band experience out of my seven years in the band.”

Delaney Mcgee ’23 shared a similar sentiment; however, her class did get to participate in previous years. 

“I’m very excited to actually do the parade this year, since COVID didn’t allow me to do it my freshman and sophomore year,” Mcgee said. “However, I did do it in middle school and it was a really fun experience.”  

Not only will marching in the band this year be a meaningful experience for the students, but also for the residents of Westport. 

“One of the most memorable things from that was the way the town was so enthusiastic and so excited to see students achieve something at such a high level and it really made the whole band’s hard work pay off,” Mcgee said. “From that experience, I can say that I’m excited and ready for our hard work to pay off this year.”