Thursday, May 28, 2015

May 25, 2015 - Memorial Day Parades

After marching in parades in the same towns year after year, you begin to associate certain characteristics with each town.

Whitesboro is very patriotic. The parade is centered around its American Legion.

La Banda Rossa marched down the street playing the songs of each of the Armed Services as well as “God Bless America”.

When you look beyond the children scrambling for Tootsie Rolls and Lollipops – you notice how many people are sporting red, white, and blue, stars and stripes clothing.

But it’s the older folk that are the most touching.

For them this is a solemn occasion: the lady holding an old sepia portrait of a woman in a WWII WAC uniform -  the Veterans’ wearing ball-caps saying “Korea”, “ Vietnam”, “Army”, “Marines”, and “Iwo Jima” – older eyes looking at us with dignity and respect.
It’s rather humbling to look at them.
The feeling was different in New Hartford where the parade is held at 7pm.

The long humid day and the Memorial Day weekend are almost over and yet, it seems as if at that moment - that summer has truly begun.

Marching down Pearl Street and then onto Oxford Road, both streets tree-lined with their dark, leafy canopies – people sitting on their porches and the curb – happy, smiling, waving, cheering – everything so warm and green.

The setting is ripe for a celebration. Summer is here – Hooray!
For more photos please click on the following link


Sunday, March 15, 2015

March 14, 2015 - St. Patrick's Day Parade Utica, NY

La Banda Rossa began their 110th consecutive year by marching in the annual Utica, NY St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

This past winter was one of the coldest and snowiest on record and we expected a huge turnout of cabin-fevered spectators.

Although the people who came were enthusiastic – the overall attendance was the one of the lowest we can recall for the past years.

The Grand Marshal this year was WKTV’s General Manager, Steve McMurray and the parade was broadcast live on TV (perhaps more people stayed home to watch it from their dry, warm living rooms).

But the Shillelagh has been passed and Steve McMurray shot the cannon to begin the parade promptly at 10am. The Red Band stepped off at 11:15am and the Great Irish Tradition continued in a sea of green!

And so La Banda Rossa begins its 110th Season

For more photos please click on the following link

Friday, November 21, 2014

November 9, 2014 - Veterans Day Parade Whitesboro NY

La Banda Rossa finished the 2014 season on marching in the annual Veterans Day Parade in Whitesboro NY.

It was a small group of spectators along the parade route – most people were at the end of the parade at the American Legion where a brief but solemn and dignified ceremony was held.

As we marched down the street we honored each branch of the military by playing the service songs of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.

The American legion requested a trumpet player to play Taps at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Our newest member, Nick DiMaria, received that honor and played it excellent.  “Good Job Nick!”

What a great way to end our season.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October 19, 2014 - Saint Marianne Cope

Sunday afternoon La Banda Rossa braved the cold winds to join with the parishioners of St. Joseph-St. Patrick’s Church in the west side of Utica.

The Parish was celebrating the 2nd Anniversary of Saint Marianne Cope’s Canonization with a 2:00pm Mass followed by a Procession to her home site.

La Banda Rossa led the Procession. The new wood-carved Statue of St. Marianne was carried by members of The Knights of St. John with an Honor Guard of St. Michael’s Lancers. The wind was cold and brisk and the Parishioners were securely wrapped in their winter wear as they followed the Saint in the Procession.

We walked a short distance (2½ blocks) to the site of the former residence of St. Marianne’s childhood.

The house has been torn down and a small canopy had been setup on the empty lot for the ceremony.

Three speakers presented a brief history of Utica during Marianne Cope’s era; followed by what the Church is doing now, and finally future plans for a museum and Shrine.
The ceremony ended with a wreath laying and Veneration of the Saint’s Relic.

Her Relic has recently helped heal local people and one of the women it helped attended the ceremony.

The Band led the Procession back to the Church to play “Marcia Reale” as the Statue was carried back inside.

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Sunday, October 5, 2014

October 4, 2014 - Homecoming Parade - Camden NY

For the 2nd year the Red Band traveled to Camden, NY, to play in the annual Homecoming Parade honoring the Blue Devils football team.

Everyone ling the parade route had bright blue cowbells that they rang right along with our music.

It was a dreary, dismal day with rain on and off all morning. Many of the spectators had setup potable blue canopies to protect them from the predicted storms. Fortunately, there were a few drops before the parade began then a downpour just after the last group finished marching.

The parade gods smiled on us and we completed the parade quite dry.

The young son of our tuba player, Paul Browne, sporting a “Go Camden Blue Devils” tee shirt, had a mouthpiece and one of the cowbells and preceded the band the entire route getting many cheers from the Camden spectators. He is currently taking trombone lessons and we are all waiting for the day he can join us and play officially.

For more photos
please click on the following link
Camden Homecoming


Saturday-Sunday September 27-28, 2014 Sts. Cosma-Damian Feast - Utica NY

If there was a theme for the Feasts of Sts. Cosmas/Damian – this year would be “Something Old …Something New”.

The “Old” includes the Saturday tradition of busloads of Canadians coming to pray at the Shrine of the Saints, greeting the statues as they emerge from the Church, participating in a candlelight procession, and dancing and singing during our annual La Banda Rossa concert.

The two “New” - our flute player Ami, and her husband David, brought our newest fan to the Sunday processions, their four month old son Sam. He really enjoyed the music and all the people. He didn’t cry, was very attentive, and immediately became an “official” member of the band!

And a real surprise – a drone was spotted above the candlelight procession Saturday night looking like a UFO in the sky. The drone was back Sunday morning hovering over the Grand Procession taking aerial videos and photos of the Pilgrims, Statues, Parishioners and the Red Band.

The Procession is so large – the band splits into two. One unit leads the procession and another is at the end. It is the back band that stops at the houses that have a poster of the Saints displayed and honors them with the playing of “Marcia Reale”

During the procession - there was an elderly woman being pushed in a wheelchair who declared – “I am almost as old as the Red Band. I will be 102 years old in a few months”. The band will be 110 next year! Bravo!

The weather was sunny and warm for another successful Feast!

For more photos please click on the following links

Sunday September 7, 2014 - St. John's Parish Picnic - Rome NY

It’s always a thrill for La Banda Rossa to play at a brand new venue.

On September 7th we were invited to perform a concert in Rome, NY, at the St. John’s Parish picnic. They are blessed with a very large parking lot which accommodated several large tents for a food buffet, entertainment, a children’s area, and plenty of room for parking.

There was no charge for the parishioners and the turn-out was amazing – it was as though every member of the parish was in attendance.

We setup at the end of a large tent – one of many that was filled with tables and chairs. As the crowd sat enjoying their Sunday meal, we played everything from marches, polkas, Italian classics to Glenn Miller.

The audience was delighted and they loved the way our director, Arlene, conducts the band. One man made it a point to tell us “I love watching her – she’s a show unto herself”.

It was a joy to watch and play for this close family of parish members!

For more photos please click on the following link


Saturday August 23, 2014 - Our Lady of Lourdes Church Festival Utica NY

This year La Banda Rossa performed at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Festival on Saturday evening. In past years we played on Friday which guaranteed a large audience because that’s then their famous fish fry is served.

But not to worry – another large crowd was in attendance Saturday night as well to enjoy the food, games, rides, warm weather, and the music.

We played a variety of fan favorites – Italian melodies, polkas, marches, and since it was such a fine summers’ night reminiscent of an old-fashioned band concert – we concluded with a medley of all-American songs including This Is My Country, You’re a Grand Old Flag. And of course The Stars and Stripes Forever!

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