The Waterloo High School Marching Band has been a longtime contributor to the village’s many Memorial Day events.
Now, the band is building on that patriotic connection and heading to New York City this November to march in the annual Veterans Day parade.
Band Director Dan Hacker said he participated in the parade while student teaching in the Amsterdam school district.
“It was such a great opportunity for the kids,” he said, adding he thought it would be the same for Waterloo’s students, especially given their connection as the birthplace of Memorial Day. Hacker himself is a 2001 Waterloo High School graduate.
“Orange runs through my blood,” he joked.
Originally only high school students were invited to go, but Hacker said he and the new middle school band director Vivian Becker decided to incorporate as many students as possible — about 85-plus middle and high school band members have signed on to make the trip. The contingent will spend three nights and return home to Waterloo Monday after the parade.
It is an especially exciting year to make the trip as it’s the 100th anniversary of New York City’s Veterans Day parade.
The trip will cost just shy of $700 per student (lodging, travel and meals), Hacker said, and the fundraising has already begun. The band held a three-mile march-a-thon recently in connection with the Waterloo Little League parade and raised $11,000. Music Boosters member Nicohl Swartley said the trip’s total cost will be about $65,000 and $14,500 has been raised so far. She encouraged people to follow the Waterloo Music Boosters Facebook page for news on future fundraisers.
The marching band has been in rehearsal for the spring parades and Hacker said it’s likely he will hold a summer band camp so the band can work on its marching and music in preparation for their big city performance.
Their selection is the Patriotic Parade Sequence, three short songs arranged as one.
“It allows us to play a lot more,” he said.
“The kids are really excited,” Hacker said. “They like the opportunity. It’s much more than going to New York City; there’s a purpose to this.”
Swartley, whose 14-year-old son Kaleb plays the clarinet, agreed.
“They’re excited about any trip but super excited about this,” she said.