by Maria on April 21st, 2019

Our 27th season has officially begun with the Buffalo St. Patrick's Day Parade. We marched with the Ancient Order of Hibernians as we have done for many years. We were wearing layers under our winter uniforms; they were wearing kilts! The temperature was just at the freezing point, and it was sunny and breezy, The sun made the air feel warmer; then the wind would blow and make the air feel colder. 

Standing around waiting for the parade to start is always the most tedious part. We pass the time socializing, On this occasion, we were especially saddened by the recent news that Mike W.'s wife, Kelly, had died. A while back, Kelly had played a few parades with us and had even gone to Toronto on one occasion. She is remembered as having a bubbly personality. After their two children were born, she opted to stay home with them so that Mike could go to Toronto. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike and his family during this sad time.

Once we got on the street, marching helped to generate some body heat to stay warm. The parade route is about a mile in a straight line heading north on Delaware Avenue. That means that at the end of the parade we have to walk about a mile south to get back to our cars. Since Don carried the heaviest instrument, a helicon, during the parade, Steve offered to carry it on return trip.

Mike H. and Dennis carried the banner. For woodwinds, we had Kelly and Karen R. on clarinet, Margaret on alto sax and Jack and Maria on tenor sax. For brass, we had Matt H. and Bob on trumpet and Don on tuba. For percussion, we had Don S. on snare drum, Jon on bass drum and Steve on cymbals.

Our next event is the Cal-Mum Youth Baseball Parade on Saturday, May 4 at noon. See you there!

by Maria on February 20th, 2019

This is the third annual Parade of Lights in Scottsville, but it's the first time we've been invited to march in it. It's also the first time in recent memory that we marched in an evening parade. Many years ago, Caledonia tried doing their Hometown Holidays Parade at night. That was before battery operated book lights and headlamps were readily available, and it was hard for us to see our music. Today, night parades are easier to do because there are many options for lighting the music.

Just before the parade started, all the fire trucks drove through the village with lights flashing and sirens blaring. Then they lined up at TJ Connor Elementary School and the parade started. The fire trucks at the beginning of the parade drove off a little faster than we could march, so there was a quite a gap between them and us.  This was a one lane parade. Route 383 was closed, but Route 251 was not.  While we marched in the southbound lane, traffic was still using the northbound lane.

Dennis carried the American flag, and Bob K. carried the rifle to guard it. They were accompanied by children of band members: Angelina and Maddie, James and AJ, Grant and Ryan. Jon was chaperoning the children.

For woodwinds, we had Tara on flute, Kelly, Mel and Karen R. and clarinet, Margaret and Cindy on alto sax and Jack on tenor sax. For brass, we had Doug, Bob, Matt H. and Ford on trumpet, Scott M. on trombone, Anya on baritone and Maria on sousaphone. For percussion, we had Don S. on snare drum, Andy on bass drum, Steve on cymbals and Theresa on bells.

This is our last parade of the 2019 season. We're already looking ahead to 2019 when our schedule will start with the Rochester St. Patrick's Day Parade. Check our web site in March for an updated schedule.

by Maria on December 3rd, 2018

Today, we had a double-header: Caledonia Hometown Holidays at noon and Scottsville's Parade of Lights at 6:15 pm. The skies were overcast and the temperature was mild in the upper 30s.

It was good to see Art, Mel, and Mike B. None of them has been able to march much this year, and we were glad they could join us today. We also had Ford playing trumpet with us. Ford plays in a number of local bands and knows several of our members, so he fit right in.

After the parade, we played in front of the fire hall for a while. Some of our favorite Christmas songs are too fast or too slow for marching, so this is a good time to play them.

We had a large color guard. Bob K. and Dennis carried the American and rifle. They were joined by children of band members: Angelina and Maddie, Grant and Ryan, AJ, and Zach.

For woodwinds, we had Tara and Tracey on flute; Mel, Kelly, Karen R., and Jodi on clarinet; Margaret, Steve, and Cindy on alto sax; Jack and Maria on tenor sax. For brass, we had Doug, Mike B., Matt H., Bob, Tom J. and Ford on trumpet; Art and Scott M. on trombone; Anya on baritone; Josh on sousaphone. For percussion, we had Don S. on snare; Andy and Jon on bass drum; Kristen on cymbals.

To pass the time between parades, we went to Daffies and had some food and beverage. We have one more parade tonight in Scottsville, and that will be the end of the 2019 season,

by Maria on December 1st, 2018

Five 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. The fifth featured instrument was the saxophone.

This year's featured instrument is the clarinet. Our clarinetists are Melody, Kim, Kelly, Karen R., Allie and Jodi.

There were many ancient tubular instruments with reeds. Around 1690, Johann Cristoph Denner and his son, Jacob, made some improvements to a popular woodwind called the chalumeau. They added keys, improved the mouthpiece and added a bell. They called their new instrument the clarinet.
Early clarinets were all made of wood. Later, some instrument manufacturers experimented with making clarinets out of metal, but they just didn't have the same sound. Today, professional clarinets are still made of wood, but other clarinets are frequently made of plastic. Many marchers prefer plastic because they are not affected as much by cold and rainy weather. Plastic clarinets also come in a variety of colors. Karen R. has three plastic clarinets: red for the Christmas parades, green for St. Patrick's Day Parades, and purple for the Lilac Parade.

Clarinets come in many sizes: Eb sopranino, Bb soprano, Eb alto, Bb bass, Eb contra-alto and Bb contra-bass. Most beginners start on the Bb soprano clarinet, so that is the most common, especially for marching. All clarinets need a reed to make a sound by vibrating on the mouthpiece. Most clarinetists use a natural reed, but again, some marchers prefer a plastic reed because it is more durable.

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 November 28th, 2018

The Toronto Santa Claus Parade is the highlight of our marching season. The temperature was just above freezing and the sky was overcast, but there was no wind. These comfortable conditions drew a huge crowd, and there was excitement throughout the four-mile parade route.

For the second year, Josh's friend Russ played baritone with us. He and Josh both play with Prime Time Brass. They marched in a couple of parades on Saturday and stayed overnight to march with us on Sunday.

There were two first-timers: Bob K. on the banner and Matt S. on sousaphone. The latter freed up Mike W. to play trumpet, which in turn freed up Scott W. to play drums, which in turn freed up Scott M. to play trombone. It was a win-win-win for everyone.

The rest of the story is told is the photos below.

We have two more Christmas parades on our schedule before the 2018 marching season draws to a close. Both are on Saturday, December 1: The Caledonia Hometown Holidays Parade at noon and Scottsville's Parade of Lights at 6:15 pm. We hope to see you there!

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