LONDONDERRY — There will be plenty of American flags flying along the parade route in Washington tomorrow. There was a lot waving yesterday morning when the 260-member Marching Lancers pulled out of town on their six coach buses, en route to the president’s inaugural parade — for the second time in four years.
Londonderry High School band members are well traveled and well respected.
With music director Andy Soucy leading the way, the band has traveled and performed in China, three Pasadena Tournament of Roses parades, the Orange Bowl parade, numerous trips to New York City for the St. Patrick’s Day parade and much more.
Tomorrow will be a repeat performance for the accomplished group. The band performed four years ago during Obama’s first inaugural parade.
This time, the Lancers were chosen from more than 1,500 applications from all over the country. Each state will be represented in the parade.
“We had the honor four years ago,” Soucy said recently. “I didn’t expect it again and we are really honored.”
The Lancers will sport their distinctive red, white and blue uniforms, with white-plumed hats. The drum line usually attracts a lot of attention.
Band parents, supporters and other residents turned out yesterday morning to cheer the band and color guard on as they passed Mack’s Apples. Six buses, 260 students, about 30 chaperones and a truck full of musical instruments left to cheers, tears and waving flags.
The band has been rehearsing for weeks to prepare for the parade. Last week, U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., went to a rehearsal and told the band how proud she was they would be representing the Granite State tomorrow.
Soucy said his students are thrilled to be returning for another inauguration and another opportunity to represent New Hampshire on a big stage.
“It’s their mission to be the best they can,” he said.
And that best is very good. Soucy said the band is a talented lot and New Hampshire has reason to be proud.
“I tell them they are representing all the state, every musician,” he said earlier. “It’s part of being an ambassador; that’s their mission, to represent the best they can.”
Tomorrow, the Marching Lancers will entertain the massive crowd along the parade route with a “Tribute to America” medley as they march down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Everything about the performance is managed down to the smallest detail, Soucy said. Bands are told how large the steps they take must be and how important it is to maintain a distance of 10 yards between them and the next unit.
But Soucy said his young musicians are up to the challenge.
“They appreciate what they do and they support each other, that’s our goal,” he said. “And, in 20 years, they’ll remember in great detail what they did on this trip.”