BY JOSEPH MCCORMACK
On Monday, Oct. 8, the Sacred Heart University Marching Band performed at the 74th annual New York City Columbus Day Parade. The band was joined by the Majorettes di Casperia, a group of 12 baton twirlers from Casperia, Italy.
“This is exciting and important for the program because the NYC Columbus Day Parade is the largest celebration of its kind in the US. The band loves performing for the crowds, which average almost a million people.” said Keith Johnson, Director of Bands.
The university marching band has been performing at the Parade since 2009. To practice for the parade, they start doing the two-mile-long parade walk three weeks prior.
“Marching, playing, and doing our best street dance, the Abunga, non-stop for 90 minutes is physically draining. Totally worth it to entertain the crowds and [for] the international TV coverage.” said Johnson.
Before the parade, they began to teach each other their routines.
“There was a bit of a language barrier with some of the girls but we did learn that day that [baton] twirling is a universal language. We traded off teaching each other tricks which we were all excited about!” said senior Hannah Wood.
The Band first met the staff and coaches of the Majorettes during the Parade back in 2013.
“We were staged in the same block as a band and Majorettes from Faleria, Italy, a little mountain town about an hour outside of Rome. They invited us to perform in Faleria in 2014 as the towns celebration of the Feast of San Giuliano,” said Johnson.
The Feast of San Giuliano is a celebration of the Saint on Jan. 13 with a parade followed by a folklore festival.
“The majorette’s director contacted me a few weeks ago to let me know that they would be in the US for the parade; but they did not have a band with them. I invited them to come march with us.” said Johnson.
“During the Parade, I heard many people reading our banner out in front and cheering for us. I could hear some alumni in the crowd, cheering loudly for us as well. Twirling with the Majorettes was also a huge way to get the SHU Band’s name out into the world. I have seen the group posting about marching with us on social media, which is bringing the SHU band to Italy in a sense,” said Wood.
“This is a great experience for the band, and it creates memories that will be with them forever. This year was made all the more special by performing with the Majorettes di Casperia,” said Johnson.