by Maria on May 30th, 2017

The forecast called for a scattered showers, but they held off and it was cool and cloudy for the parade. That's not a bad thing for marching, or for the spectators, either. There was a good crowd for the parade.

Tara's son, Peyton, and husband, Bob, carried the banner. We were right behind one of the school bands. After we played a couple of songs, their band director came to Bob and Peyton and asked them to increase our following distance because they were having trouble hearing themselves.

None of our trombones could make it, so Jack and Maria on tenor sax and Anya on baritone horn did their best to cover the part. When we played Seventy-Six Trombones, Anya carried the melody on the baritone horn. The trumpets were strong with Mike W., Bob and Matt H.; Josh played sousaphone.

Tara was the only flute, Marcia and Mel played clarinet and Margaret played alto sax. Steve played bass drum so Andy could play cymbals. Scott and Don played snare, and Theresa played bells.

Our next event is the Cal-Mum Memorial Day Parade. See you there!

by Maria on May 13th, 2017

This is always a "feel-good" event. It's a short parade, going once around the block. Hundreds of people from the community come out to show their support for the youth baseball program. When the parade reaches Tennent Park, there is a brief opening ceremony.

Normally Kelley's Heroes and the high school band play The Star-Spangled Banner together for the ceremony. Unfortunately, the high school band wasn't able to participate because of a scheduling conflict. However, there were five students who still wanted to participate, so they marched with us. They were Sarah E. on flute, Sarah B. and Matt Z. on alto sax, and Trevor K. and Jake R. on trumpet. They did a great job, and we hope they'll join us in their junior and senior years.

Jon and Steve co-coach one of the teams, so they split their choices. Jon marched with the team and Steve marched with the band.

The banner was carried by Angelina, Maddy, Claire and Meghan.

Margaret had the whistle for the first time, and she did a wonderful job. She also played piccolo, and Tara played flute. Marcia and Kelly played clarinet; Steve and Jack played saxophone.

Matt came all the way from Buffalo to play trumpet along with Caledonia natives, Scott W. and Arnie. Scott M. played trombone; Harold played sousaphone.

Don S. played snare drum; Andy played bass drum and Emily, eight months pregnant, played cymbals.

Our next event is the Lilac Parade on Saturday, May 13.

by Maria on March 21st, 2017

Usually our marching season starts with the Rochester St. Patrick's Day Parade, but we had to cancel our participation in that event last week. First, there was the windstorm that knocked out power to tens of thousands of homes in our area. Second, there was the snowstorm that dumped over two feet of snow. Third, there was the brutal cold. The temperature was in the upper teens and it was windy. We just didn't have have enough people to march.

Buffalo was a totally different story. Even though it was cloudy, the temperature was near 40 degrees and the air was calm. With all of our layers, some of us almost felt warm toward the end of the parade.
We had 22 people and 1 dog on the street. Tara and her son, Peyton, carried the banner. Their dog, Attila, marched along decked out in her St. Patrick's Day outfit.

We welcomed a new member, Elise's friend, Irene, on snare drum. Since we had Irene and Don S. on snare drum, Scott M. played trombone, which was a good thing because he was the only one. The percussion section was completed by Jon on bass drum, Andy on cymbals and Theresa on bells.
Don H. made a personal sacrifice and played a fiberglass sousaphone for this parade. He prefers the sound of a metal sousaphone, but it's heavier and it's been difficult to carry since he injured his shoulder. Mike W. also made a sacrifice. He drove an hour from his home to Caledonia, then rode in the carpool for an hour and a half. From beginning to end, this was an 8 1/2 hour day for Mike!

Mel's clarinet reed broke shortly before the parade started. She ran back to her car, got a new reed and got back just in time to step off with us. The woodwind section was completed by Irene and Karen on flute, Margaret and Steve on alto sax, and Jack and Maria on tenor sax.

We had four trumpets: Bob, Matt H., Mike W. and Doug. Doug gave us an update on his brother, Art, who fell and broke his fibula. It was repaired with a plate and screws, and he is hobbling around the greenhouse getting ready for spring. Get well soon, Art!

Bob and Anya left their two boys with Bob's parents while they marched in the parade. The boys watched the parade live on television and were excited that they got to see both of their parents.

It was a good start to the 2017 marching season. Our next event is the Cal-Mum Youth Baseball Parade on April 29. Another short parade. See you there!

by Maria on March 19th, 2017

This is just one event of a great weekend of crafts and performances that brighten a cold dark time of year and kick off the holiday season. It might be the shortest parade on our schedule; we only played three or four songs. To give ourselves a little more time, we marched 360 degrees around the monument. When we reached the fire hall, we circled around the Christmas tree and played until it was officially lit. It was warm enough that could stay outdoors for our concert.

Jon and Kelly's son, James, and Tracey's son, Zach, carried the banner. Tara's son, Peyton, marched right behind them with our canine unit. Attila and Petunia looked festive in matching red Christmas sweaters.

Several members of the Pullyblank family marched in tribute to Pully who died in October. His eldest daughter, Marie, wore Pully's famous Christmas plaid boxer shorts and played the jingle bells. His middle daughter, Marcia, plays clarinet and is a charter member of Kelley's Heroes. Brett, the son of Pully's youngest daughter, Brenda, wore Pully's Santa apron and reindeer antlers and carried his valve trombone.

This is the last parade of our 25th anniversary season. We'll be back in March 2017 starting with the St. Patrick's Day Parades in Rochester and Buffalo.

by Maria on December 6th, 2016

Three years ago, Kelley's Heroes launched a series of Christmas ornaments. The first featured instrument was the valve trombone; the second featured instrument was the bass drum; the third featured instrument was the snare drum.

This year, our fourth ornament celebrates our 25th anniversary and features the sousaphone. It is important to have a strong bass line to lay the foundation for the instruments that play the melody and harmony. Our current sousaphonists are  Don H. and Josh. The bass line is so important that, when necessary, Mike W., who normally plays trumpet, and Maria, who normally plays saxophone, will abandon their instruments to play sousaphone.
In the late 1800s, the popular bass instrument was the helicon. John Philip Sousa liked its sound for parades but not for concerts. He wanted an instrument that was easy to carry, had a large bore, and had a large bell that could be adjusted forward for parades or upward for concerts. He took his ideas to John Walsh Pepper, an instrument maker in Philadelphia. In 1893, Pepper was so pleased with the result, he named his new invention the sousaphone. The detachable forward-facing bell was introduced in 1908 by Conn. Brass sousaphones are heavy, so many sousaphonists were happy when lighter weight fiberglass instruments became available in the 1960s. However, the brass instruments have a distinctive sound that is preferred by some sousaphonists, including Don and Josh.
Whatever happened to John Walsh Pepper? Over time, his company stopped producing instruments and started selling sheet music. Today, J.W. Pepper & Son, Inc. is the largest retailer of sheet music in the world.

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.

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