by Maria on July 5th, 2019

Last year, the Chil-E Fest occurred during a heat wave. On the blacktop the temperature was literally 100 degrees. This year, the temperature was only in the upper 80s. That's still hot, but there was quite a bit of cloud cover, so most of the time we felt like we were marching in the shade.
We marched with our friends in the Chili Fire Department. Thankfully, they had plenty of bottled water to share with all of us.

Theresa was decked out in red, white and blue headband and flag earrings. She also attached a bunting to the front of her bells. Margaret was wearing red, white and blue beads.

For woodwinds, we had Irene on piccolo, Kim on clarinet, and Margaret on alto sax. For brass we had Cindy playing trumpet parts on alto sax, Scott M. on trombone and Maria on sousaphone. For percussion, we had Steve on snare drum, Andy on bass drum and Theresa on bells.

Our next event is the Hilton FD parade on Thursday. See you there!

by Maria on June 29th, 2019

The Penfield Independence Day Parade is one of the most organized parades that we do. From the moment we entered the school driveway, there were volunteers to direct us. Along the parade route, volunteers distributed cups of cold water to marchers. At the end of the parade, volunteers with golf carts offer rides to marchers with big instruments. Linanne has been in charge of this parade for 32 years, and she is retiring in April. We wish the best for Linanne in her retirement, and we hope her successor will maintain the the wonderful organization she has built.

While we were warming up, one of Tom J.'s trumpet valves was sticking. Luckily, Bob had another trumpet in his car, so Tom J., played that one during the parade.

At the end of the parade, Jon shed blood for the band. It would be a good story to say that it happened because he worked so hard at playing bass drum, but that wouldn't be true. Even though he did work hard at playing bass drum, the truth is he scratched his hand while taking off his wrist watch, and there was blood.

Tom J. and Kristen live near this parade, and they invited us back to their home for a barbecue. The weather held up for the rest of the afternoon, and we had a great time. Thanks, Tom and Kristen!

Dennis carried the banner. For woodwinds, we had Kelly and Karen R. on clarinet; Margaret and Mike H. on alto sax; Jack and Maria on tenor sax. For brass, we had Matt, Tom J. and Bob on trumpet; Scott M. on trombone; Josh on sousaphone; Theresa on bells; Scott W. and Steve on snare drum; Jon on bass drum and Kristen on cymbals.

Our next event is the Chil-E Fest on Thursday, July 4. See you there!

by Maria on June 23rd, 2019

Earlier in the day, there was heavy rain in some parts of Western New York. It was a pleasant surprise when we arrived in Kendall and found that it was not raining at all. The fields behind the carnival were dry enough that visitors could still park there without sinking into the mud.

Even so, the rainy weather still had an effect on our instrumentation. Don H. was planning to march and play his helicon (sousaphone). However, Don H. works for the highway department, and because of flooding in Mt. Morris, he had to work, so Maria played sousaphone.

We marched with our friends in the Kendall Fire Department. As we were standing on the grass warming up with Rocky Mountain Way, the parade started to move forward. We strolled to the street and got in line without missing a beat.

Matt T. and Isaac had so much fun in Hamlin, they came back to play percussion for us again tonight. Steve, who normally plays saxophone and occasionally plays bass drum, has also been working on snare drum. He played side-by-side with Matt T. and picked up several useful pointers. Having Matt T. on snare freed up Scott M. to play trombone.

Jodi was feeling rather confident. She was the only clarinet, and she was playing as loud as she could. In the beer tent, she even requested The Stripper, but the beer tent band was just getting started so we had to stop. Don't worry, Jodi, we'll play The Stripper the next time you march with us.

For woodwinds, we had Jodi on clarinet and Margaret on alto sax. For brass, we had Doug, Tyler and Bob on trumpet; Scott M. and Zach on trombone and Maria on sousaphone. For percussion we had Steve and Matt T. on snare drum; Isaac on bass drum; Andy on cymbals and Theresa on bells.

Update: We won First Place in Kendall for Best Drum and Bugle Corps.

Our next event is the Penfield Independence Day Parade on Saturday, June 28. See you there!

by Maria on June 15th, 2019

It rained last night, but today was cool and sunny. We marched with our friends in the Kendall/East Battalion Fire Departments.

We have two bass drummers – Andy and Jon – who coordinate their efforts to make sure we always have a bass drummer. When neither of the them is available, Steve. who usually plays alto sax, will step up and play bass drum. Tonight, none of them was available, so we recruited Isaac to play drum. An added bonus was that his father, Matt, offered to play snare drum. This arrangement freed up Scott M. to play trombone.

Theresa arrived after the police closed Route 19. She explained that she was marching. They still couldn’t let her through, but they did show her where to park to that she could join us. She reached the staging area with just a few minutes to spare.

When we were done for the evening, we had some extra equipment to carry out. Tom J. carried the bass drum, and Jack carried Tom J.’s trumpet. We reached the parking lot and Jack realized that the trumpet mouthpiece had fallen out. As we turned around to backtrack and search for the mouthpiece, Scott M.’s sister, Sheryl, caught up to us with the mouthpiece in her hand. She had seen it on the ground, had a feeling it belonged to one of us and picked it up. Thank you, Sheryl!

On the drive home, we were able to see Jupiter in the clear southern sky ahead of us. This is as close as it gets. Tonight it is only 398 million miles away.

We had Dennis on banner; Kelly and Karen on clarinet; Maria on alto sax; Jack on tenor sax; Doug, Tom J. and Bob on trumpet; Scott M. on trombone, Josh on sousaphone; Matt on snare drum; Isaac on bass drum and Theresa on bells.

Update: We found out that we took Second Place at the York FD Parade.

Update: We won First Place in Hamlin for Non-Fire Department Band.

Our next event is the Kendall FD Parade next Thursday. See you there!

by Maria on June 9th, 2019

I was not able to attend the Bergen Park Festival, so I asked those in attendance to contribute information for this blog entry,

Special recognition goes to Margaret, Scott and Andy for marching in all three parades this week's trifecta: Spencerport on Thursday, York on Friday and Bergen today!  Special thanks to Tara, Cindy, Doug and Arnie for rearranging their schedules so that they could participate today. Arnie could not make the parade, but he was able to make it for the concert.

Scott M. had the whistle, and he said that it was nice to play with such talented and versatile musicians. He was referring to several instrumental changes made between the parade and the concert. During the parade, Cindy assisted Doug by playing trumpet parts on alto sax and then switched to alto sax parts when Arnie arrived. During the parade, Jack played tenor sax and then played trumpet parts on his Midi wind instrument. Steve usually plays alto sax, but for this event he played snare drum.

Irene wrote that it was a perfect day to march. The sun was shining, there was a slight breeze and the streets were lined with villagers anticipating the excitement of the parade. The parade started at noon, and is carefully scheduled around the train schedule.  After the parade started there was a slight delay before we started, since we are near the end.  As we were approaching the tracks one of the parade volunteers told us  train was coming.  We all quickly crossed the tracks and the gates went down behind us.  Liberty Pumps with the horses were the last unit and waited for the train. Thankfully the train was short. They were able to close the gap without losing the parade. Several of the Bergen locals came and thanked us for coming while we played the concert. Arnie showed up in uniform to help with the concert. Bergen was celebrating 30 years of being awesome and had 500 cupcakes free to share. Afterward  we were invited for free cupcakes.

Jack also noted that the band had to do a little double time march so half the band didn't get separated by a train that went through. No matter how many musicians you have, it's tough to be heard over a CSX freight train.

We had Irene and Tara on flute; Margaret and Cindy on alto sax; Jack on tenor sax; Doug and Arnie on trumpet; Scott M. on trombone; Don H. on tuba; Steve on snare drum; Andy on bass drum.

Our next event is the Hamlin FD Parade on Friday. See you there!

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