SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – The Schenectady High School Marching Patriots will have the honor of representing New York State when they perform before the President and millions of Americans in the 2014 National Independence Day Parade in Washington, D.C.
Joel Servant, Director of the Marching Patriots, received the exciting news this week after Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy nominated the band to participate.
"This is an incredible opportunity for the marching band and gives the community and City of Schenectady another reason to be extremely proud of our kids," Servant said. "All of the students in the band program are outstanding, unique young ladies and gentlemen. They always want to push themselves to the next level and are extremely proud to be members."
The annual parade is a major event that draws national attention and bands from across the country vying for a chance to perform. The honor is not something Servant and his band, which includes about 50 members, plus eight members of color guard and 25 dancers from the Sayles School of Fine Arts, are going to take lightly.
"This opportunity is wonderful for developing the band because it gives the students the immense task of preparing for such an event," Servant said. "It will surely motivate our students to work towards being an outstanding marching band."
Servant said the band will spend months preparing for the big day, starting with fine-tuning its marching technique and musicianship in a band camp to be held in August. Learning the music will come as early as January and rehearsals will likely be held three to four times a week in the months before.
"They will need to prepare to be at their highest level of achievement," Servant said. "I can guarantee that this group of students will work extremely hard to be an excellent representation of Schenectady and the State of New York."
To be selected by the committee, Servant submitted an application that included a biography of the band members and himself, along with a recording of the marching band performing. Of the numerous applications, only about 15-20 bands were chosen to participate in the parade based on performance and musical quality, as well as geographical, ethnic and stylistic diversity. The goal of the parade selection committee is to have at least one band represent each of the 50 states.
In 2014, the parade will kick off at 11:45 a.m. on Constitution Avenue in the Capitol. The parade route travels along historic parts of the Capitol, including the White House.
If you want to check out the band or show your support before it heads to Washington, head to the Schenectady High School home football games this upcoming season to see them perform during halftime.