by Maria on December 2nd, 2017


Four years ago, Kelley's Heroes launched a series of Christmas ornaments. The first featured instrument was the valve trombone, the second was the bass drum, and the third was the snare drum. The fourth ornament celebrated our 25th anniversary and featured the sousaphone.

This year's featured instrument is the saxophone. Kelley's Heroes regularly marches with both alto and tenor saxes; on one special occasion, we even had a soprano sax (See Robert Pullyblank Memorial Service 2017). Typically, Steve, Margaret and Cindy play alto sax, and Jack and Maria play tenor sax.
Most instruments have a long, and somewhat vague, history going back several hundred years. However, the saxophone is documented as having been invented in 1846 by Adolph Sax, a Belgian instrument maker. His goal was to create an instrument that would be a bridge between the woodwind and brass instruments.
Originally, saxophones were made in many sizes that played in many keys. Over time, some of the sizes and keys became more popular than others. Today, the most common saxophones are the Eb alto and the Bb tenor, followed by the Eb baritone and Bb soprano. Whatever the size or key, all saxophones read music in the treble clef and use the same fingerings.

Occasionally, a C melody sax is found at a flea market or garage sale. It is usually mistaken for a tenor sax, and the owner can't figure out why it plays so out of tune. However, the beauty of the C melody sax is that the performer can read his part right off the piano score.

The flat acrylic ornaments are 3" inches in diameter. For a suggested donation of $5, you can start your own collection of Kelley's Heroes ornaments.  If you would like this one or any of the ones from previous years, send us a message by clicking on Contact on the navigation bar at the top of this Web page.

by Maria on December 2nd, 2017

In the morning, it was sunny and the temperature was in the 40s, but there was a moderate breeze so it felt a little colder. While we were waiting to step off, a bank of clouds rolled in, and the sun was gone. Still, the marching was enough to keep most of us warm once we got on the street.

Sally Santora, from the Livingston County News, came to see us off. She took some pictures and interviewed the leadership team. There are four of us who have marched in the parade all 26 years: Josh, Marcia, Maria and Scott. On the other hand, we had seven first-timers: Jodi, Zach, Mike H., Irene B., Jack, Lesle, and Cindy.

On the bus ride up, Tara and Karen made matching red and green tutus. Tara even threaded a string of neon wire lights through the tulle. Since it was cloudy, the lights could actually be seen.

As we were lining up, Tara couldn't get her flute lyre to stay on her arm because the corner had broken off. Fortunately, Bob had a clip, so we clipped the elastic armband to the lyre. It wasn't a perfect solution, but it got Tara through the parade.

Two of Josh's Prime Time Brass colleagues marched with us: Russ on baritone and Jeff on drums. Mike H. and Irene B. dressed as elves and carried the banner.

On the return trip, Karen had to go through customs still wearing her tutu. It had a knot and she couldn't get it out. As we were leaving customs, Margaret dropped to her knees and undid the knot with her teeth. It looked a little strange, but it solved the problem.

There is one more event on our 2017 schedule, and that is Caledonia Hometown Holidays on Saturday, December 2. This weekend of activities will get you in the Christmas spirit. Hope to see you there!

by Maria on November 2nd, 2017

The Caledonia Quilt Guild has been very busy. Their goal was to make a quilt for every local veteran. Today they presented those quilts to over 60 veterans. Kelley's Heroes is honored to have been part of the festivities.

We stood outside the entrance of Caledonia-Mumford Middle School and played while veterans, accompanied by their family and friends, arrived for the ceremony. Then we went indoors and participated in the ceremony by playing The Star-Spangled Banner and Armed Forces Salute. During the latter, veterans stood during the official song of their branch of service, and the audience gave them a round of applause.

Almost everyone who played in the Roberts Wesleyan College Homecoming Parade (see previous post) in the morning also played for this event. We lost one - Tyler stayed at RWC to participate in homecoming activities - and added two - Arnie on trumpet and Don H. on tuba. Bob had to leave right after we were done playing because he had to be in Rochester to work 3:00 pm to midnight.

These events mark the end of of our summer marching season, but we're not done yet. Now we'll be switching to our Christmas books and getting ready for three Christmas parades. Look for us as we march around Caledonia on November 5 and 12. You are welcome to march along!

by Maria on November 2nd, 2017

Most of the summer was cool and rainy, so it's ironic that the first week of fall has a forecast of sunny days with temperatures into the 80s. Even though the morning was cool, by the time the parade started at 11:00 am, the sun was overhead and it was hot. As we walked through patches of shade, we could definitely feel a difference.

The saxophone section was well-represented. Margaret usually plays alto sax,  but today she played piccolo. There were no other flutes or clarinets. Cindy played alto sax, and Jack and Maria played tenor sax. Steve usually plays alto sax, but today he was covering bass drum.

Mike W., Bob and Tyler played trumpet. Mike W. drove an hour from Newark to march today. Tyler is a freshman at Roberts Wesleyan College. After he played trumpet with us for the parade, he helped out with one of the college homecoming activities. Then he had plans to do some homework in the afternoon. There were no trombones, and unfortunately no tuba. Maria did her best to play some tuba parts on the tenor sax.

Scott M. played snare drum and, as mentioned earlier, Steve played bass drum.

After the parade, we all stopped at Tim Hortons for a quick lunch and headed to Caledonia-Mumford Central School for the Caledonia Quilt Guild's Veterans Quilt Presentation. See the next post for that story.

by Maria on September 11th, 2017

Honor Flight is a wonderful event, and Kelley's Heroes was pleased to be part of today's celebration. According to the Honor Flight website, they accept applications from "veterans who served prior to 1964 along with veterans from any era who suffer a catastrophic illness. " The veterans fly to Washington, D.C. to see their war memorials. Upon their return, they are greeted at the airport by veterans groups, family and friends. Local bands take turns providing music for the festivities, and today was our turn.

We had a great turnout! Irene, Tracey and Tara played flute. Tracey had her three boys - Zach, Jake and Josh - in tow. They looked all-American in their Boy Scout uniforms. Marcia, Karen R. and Jodi played clarinet. Margaret, Steve and Mike H. played alto sax, and Jack and Maria played tenor sax. Heartbreak Hotel, a sax feature, sounded amazing with five saxes.

There were four trumpets: Matt H., Tom, Bob and Arnie. Arnie brought a large photo of his father, Stanley, a World War II vet to display next to our banner. Harold, Scott M. and Zach played trombone. Scott usually plays snare drum, but since we were indoors, one snare drum played by Don S. was enough. Harold and his wife, Emily (cymbals) brought their three-month-old daughter, Eva. She was all smiles listening to the music and watching the people. Josh played sousaphone.

Don S. played snare drum, and Kristen played bass drum. Emily and TJ played cymbals. TJ's sister, Kayla, was also present. She occasionally carries the banner when we march in parades, but soon she'll be old enough to play trumpet with us.

This week we received some good news. We won first place in the Hamlin FD Parade.

We have two events coming up on September 23. In the morning we'll be marching in the Roberts Wesleyan Homecoming Parade. Later, in the afternoon, we'll be playing for another event honoring our veterans. The Caledonia Quilt Guild will present quilts to about 100 Vietnam veterans.


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