On Sunday night, Londonderry High School music director Andy Soucy told his 260-member Marching Lancers to rest up for their big day yesterday.
The band made its second appearance in four years in the presidential inaugural parade in Washington, D.C. They represented New Hampshire, after a successful application process.
Soucy said earlier he was surprised and honored the band was invited back.
The competition was stiff; some 2,800 groups applied to participate in President Obama’s second inaugural parade.
But the Lancers succeeded and looked sharp as they marched past the presidential reviewing stand in the fifth and final division of the parade.
Fittingly dressed in their trim red, white and blue uniforms, the young musicians played a “Tribute to America,” a patriotic medley. Most of the band sported tall hats with white plumes atop. The tubas and sousaphone players wore red berets and the color guard sparkled in shiny blue berets.
The parade was carried live on C-SPAN and the Londonderry group, one of the bigger bands in the parade, got plenty of airtime.
For 16-year-old Erin Conti, an LHS junior and color guard captain, it was the experience of a lifetime.
“I think it will be surreal; it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.” she said before the parade. “I am so excited. The best thing is marching in the parade with all my friends.”
The band left early Saturday morning to some fanfare. The six buses and an instrument truck were sent on their way in style. Parents, fans and residents lined the road at Mack’s Apples and the fire department suspended a huge flag over the road as they departed.
Drumline captain Dalton Gyorda said band and color guard members were excited by the crowd that saw them off and the police escort that led them out of town Saturday morning.