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Danvers High band struts up Fifth Avenue in NYC St. Patrick's Day parade

Posted by Kathy McCabe  March 18, 2013 02:42 PM

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Danvers High Band on Fifth Avenue

The Danvers High School band marched up Fifth Avenue on Saturday in New York City's 252 Annual St. Patrick's Day parade.

The 160-member band played "I'm Shipping Up To Boston," the Celtic-sounding anthem by Boston's Dropkick Murphy's, in a grand march that passed by St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The color guard twirled green flags, at times in steady snow that fell upon thousands of marchers. The band wore its traditional white-and-blue band uniforms, but sousaphone players donned green berets for the day.

"I'm so excited," junior Collin Butler, 16, positioning his sousaphone, as the band arrived at a staging area on Sixth Avenue. "The adrenaline is already going."

Ashley Osborne, a senior alto saxophone player, took time to help 8th grader Emily Nestor, 13, tuck her hair neatly beneath her silver-trimmed helmet topped with a with a white plum.

"We can't have any hair showing," Osborne said.

"This is my first big parade," Nestor said, smiling through silver braces. "I was in the Topsfield Fair parade (last fall) but that's a really small parade compared to this one."

The Falcons marched behind a contingent of thousands of New York firefighters, and just ahead of the high school band from Newtown, Conn., where a gunman killed 26 teachers and elementary school children before Christmas.

The appearance marked the 10th anniversary of the Falcons' first appearance in the grand parade that drew thousands of revelers.The band's other notable appearances include three visits to the Rose Parade, on New Years Day in Pasadena, California, and the 70th Anniversary observance of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

This year's St. Patrick's Day parade marked a milestone for band director Ron Parsons. On June 16, 2012, Parsons was seriously injured when he fell off the roof of his Peabody home. He is still undergoing physical therapy. On Saturday, Parsons sported a shamrock tie, and used a cane to lead the Falcons' up Fifth Avenue.

"This one is special for me," Parsons said smiling.

Kathy McCabe can be reached at kmccabe@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @globekmccabe


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