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!

by Maria on October 28th, 2018

Today Honor Flight Rochester celebrated Mission 62. Sixty Vietnam Veterans were on board: 13 Marines, 30 Army, 7 Navy and 10 Air Force. As they walked through the airport, they were greeted with cheers and applause and signs that read Welcome Home and Thank You.

The traffic lanes leading to the terminal are under construction, so only one lane is open. The construction was covered with a curved canopy reminiscent of the Sidney (Australia) Opera House.

Even though we didn't have to play until 12:30 pm, the Honor Flight committee suggested that we arrive at 11:15 am to avoid congestion, and they were right. Some Heroes had to come a little later because of church services, and they were directed to use the parking garage.

It's always a pleasure to play at the airport. The live acoustics amplify and carry the sound throughout the building.

After we played Sweet Caroline, a gentleman from the audience wanted an encore. We promised him we'd come back to it later, which we did, That song is tough on the trumpets because most of their part is above the staff. There were no trombones, but Anya competently covered the part on the baritone.

For color guard, we had Bob K.. For woodwinds, we had Irene and Tara on piccolo, Jodi on clarinet, Margaret and Mike H. on alto sax, and Jack and Maria on tenor sax. For brass, we had Matt H., Bob, Tom J. and Kayla on trumpet, Anya on baritone and Josh on sousaphone. For percussion, we had Scott M. on snare drum, Andy on bass drum and Kristen on cymbals.

Our next event is The Santa Claus Parade in Toronto on November 18.

by Maria on September 29th, 2018

Many years ago, Kelley's Heroes marched many times in the Palmyra Canal Town Days Parade. For the past several years, we marched in the Livonia Autumn in the Village Parade, which was the same weekend. Livonia still has its festival, but it no longer has a parade, so this year we went back to Palmyra and had a great time.

This was a long drive for our members who live on the west side of Rochester. Karen drove about an hour from Batavia; Jodi and Zach drove over an hour from Albion. It's a good thing Zach made the trip. He was the only trombone, and he did very well on the trombone solos.

The parade started at 4:00 pm. At about 3:20 pm, we got a call from the Jones family saying that they were just leaving Henrietta, where they had been watching their nephew play hockey. Tom had no idea how to get to Palmyra, so Maria gave him directions. It caused some concern that the Jones family might be late because they constituted one-fourth of the band for this parade, Luckily, they arrived a few minutes before we stepped off.

Kristen plays cymbals, and she knows where all the crashes are. For this parade, she carried the banner and her son, TJ, played cymbals. To cue TJ, she would point one hand up in the air, and it looked like she was disco dancing.

Our banner has a wood pole in the bottom to add weight and hold it down. Since Kristen was carrying the banner by herself, Steve took that pole out to make it lighter. Unfortunately, as he slid the pole out, a huge splinter lodged in his hand. It took quite a while for him to dig that out.

For woodwinds, we had Margaret on piccolo, Karen R. and Jodi on clarinet, Steve on alto sax and Maria on tenor sax. For brass, we had five trumpets: Doug, Matt H., Kayla, Tom J. and Bob. There was also Zach on trombone and Josh on tuba. For percussion, we had Scott M. on snare drum, Andy on bass drum and TJ on cymbals.

Our next event is Rochester Honor Flight on September 30. See you there!

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