by Maria on May 22nd, 2018

There was rain last night and there were a few sprinkles in the air as we stepped off. Even so, the weather was mostly cooperative for this year's Lilac Festival Parade. It was on the cooler side, so some Heroes wore their sweatshirts or jackets while others were comfortable in their short sleeve uniform shirts. We are ready for anything Mother Nature tries to throw at us.
Some of the Girl Scouts from Troop # 42182 who marched in color guard with us last week came back and marched with us again today. Their co-leader, Karen R., said they were busy this past week making purple tie-dye sunburst pattern t-shirts, which they accessorized with pink floral leis. Troop members Allison, Brianna and Brooke performed their flag routine. Co-leader Barb carried one end of the banner with one hand while she pushed a stroller containing her grandson with the other hand.
The other end of the banner was carried by Tara's husband, Bob.

It was nice to see Keenan. Last year, he wasn't able to make a single parade. He recently moved and lives within walking distance of Highland Park.

Steve normally plays alto sax, but we had four saxes so he played bass drum. That freed up Andy to play cymbals.

Woodwinds included Irene, Karen G. and Tara on flute, Karen R. and Jodi on clarinet, Margaret and Cindy on alto sax and Jack and Maria on tenor sax. Brass included Matt H., Bob, Scott W. and Mike W. on trumpet, Keenan on trombone and Josh on sousaphone. Percussion included Scott M. and Don S. on snare, Steve on bass drum, Andy on cymbals and Theresa on bells.

Our next event is the Memorial Day Parade in Caledonia. See you there!

by Maria on May 18th, 2018

This parade was supposed to take place last Saturday, but it was raining and the decision was made to postpone. It turned out to be a very good decision because today was sunny and warm, and everyone was happy to be outdoors.

The high school band didn't march this year, so four of the seniors marched with us: Sarah E. on flute, Sarah B. and Matt on alto sax, and Trevor on trumpet. Sarah E. and Trevor have parents who are in the band, and they have previously marched with us as banner carriers or flag bearers.

We had a big color guard. Bob's sons, Grant and Ryan, carried the banner. Members of Karen R.'s Girl Scout Troop #42182 from Batavia marched as color guard. They researched color guard routines and created their own to earn a badge. Marchers included co-leader Barb and troop members Allison, Brianna, Brooke, Julia and Emily. A local girl, Tessa, carried another flag and Tracey's son, Jake, carried a rifle.

Woodwinds included Tracey and Tara on flute, Kelly and Karen R. on clarinet, Margaret on alto sax, Jack on tenor sax. Brass consisted of Matt H. and Bob on trumpet, Scott M. on trombone and Maria on sousaphone. Percussion included Don S. on snare drum and Andy on bass drum. Don had already marched another baseball in Pittsford earlier that morning!

Our next event is the Lilac Parade in Rochester next Saturday.

by Maria on April 7th, 2018

Today was actually a little warmer than yesterday, but it's always windy in Buffalo so it feels colder. Many years ago, we started marching in this parade because one of our members, Brian, has an uncle in the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Even though Brian no longer marches and Uncle Bill now spends his winters in Florida, the AOH is nice enough to continue to hire us to march in this parade.

We didn't have a color guard, but we did have Mike H. lead the way carrying a flag decorated with a leprechaun. Mike is a cheerful ambassador for Kelley's Heroes. He marches with a spring in his step and waves to spectators. Mike has had related experience as a banner-carrying elf in Toronto. When Mike isn't needed in color guard, he also plays alto sax.

Since we were in Buffalo, Margaret's niece, Krissy, was able to join us on flute. Krissy is a music student at Buffalo State College. It's hard to believe that this is her senior year! At the end of the parade, she gave Don H. a break by trading her small flute for his big sousaphone and carried it part way back to the parking garage. That counts as a good deed for the day.

The remainder of woodwinds were Karen R. on clarinet, Margaret and Steve on alto sax, and Jack and Maria on tenor sax . For brass, we had Matt H., Bob and Mike W. on trumpet, Scott M. on trombone and Don on sousaphone. For percussion, we had Don S. on snare drum and Jon on bass drum.

Our next event is the Cal-Mum Youth Baseball Parade on April 28. See you there!

by Maria on April 7th, 2018

Last year, there was a dangerously cold wind chill the day of this parade, and we had to cancel our participation. This year. the temperature was almost 40. That's still chilly, but the sun was shining and our instruments were able to function properly.

The event committee had some new requirements this year. Bands had to have at least twelve people, a color guard and at least one Irish song. We don't have an Irish song in our library, so Maria created an arrangement of a medley of When Irish Eyes are Smiling, The Irish Washer Woman, and My Wild Irish Rose. Our founder, the late Tim Kelley, and one of our charter members, the late Don Pullyblank, were both very proud of their Irish ancestry, so it is very fitting for us to have an Irish song to play in their honor. 

We were lined up on one of the streets off East Avenue. The parade had already started and we had just been told that our division would be moving soon. Theresa's daughter, Taryn, and Taryn's boyfriend, Louis, were still missing. With just moments to spare, they arrived. Taryn carried one end of the banner and Louis carried the American flag. Taryn also brought her dog to march along.
Tara's husband, Bob, carried the other end of the banner and held on to Attila, who was wearing a Kelley's Heroes sweatshirt. Meredith carried a rifle and guarded the American flag.

Doug was just getting over bronchitis. He was going to march in the Buffalo parade the following day, but we had no trumpets for this parade, so he changed his plans. Karen L. wasn't planning to march either, but when she heard we needed trumpets, she was there.

For woodwinds, we had Irene, Karen G. and Tara on flute, Kelly on clarinet, Margaret on alto sax, and Maria on tenor sax. For brass, we had Doug and Karen on trumpet, and Josh on sousaphone. For percussion, we had Scott M. on snare drum, Steve on bass drum, Andy on cymbals and Theresa on bells. That makes a total of thirteen instruments and four color guard.

Our next event is the Buffalo St. Patrick's Day Parade tomorrow.

by Maria on January 14th, 2018

It couldn't have been a nicer day for a parade. It was about 40 degrees, partly sunny and no wind.

The parade route was a little different this year. Everyone lined up on Maple Street, which is where we used to line up for the old Caledonia Fire Department Parades. After marching 360 degrees around the monument, we continued past the Fire Hall, turned the corner, and ended at the Big Springs Museum. The Museum had a flag-raising ceremony to dedicate their new flag pole to Don Pullyblank and Jim Phillips, two dedicated volunteers who died in the last year. After the Boy Scouts raised the flag, we played The Star-Spangled Banner.

Don Pullyblank was also a founding member of Kelley's Heroes. At the end of the ceremony, we played two of his favorites: Sweet Caroline and When the Saints Go Marching In.

We walked back around to the front of the Fire Hall and played Christmas music for the next half hour. Since the weather was so nice, quite a few people gathered around to listen. A few even danced to our jazzier selections.

Tracey's son, Zach, and Steve and Margaret's daughter, Angelina, carried the banner. Their other daughter, Maddie, and Kelly and Jon's son, James, handed out candy as they marched along. They were accompanied by our canine unit. Tara's daughter, McKenna, walked along with Petunia and Attila decked out in festive red sweaters.

This officially ends our 2017 marching season. After Christmas, we'll start scheduling parades for 2018. We're already booked for the Rochester St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 17!

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