Dubbed by Music Director Andy Soucy as the Tale of Two Cities Tour, the Londonderry High School Marching Band marched in two consecutive St. Patrick’s Day parades. On Sunday they performed in Washington, D.C., and on Sunday afternoon it was on to New York City, where they performed in that city’s parade on Monday, St. Patrick’s Day.
While visiting the nation’s capital, the band went to the grave of 2006 LHS alumnus Peter Sohm at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., where Joe Conti played “Taps” at the grave site and Danielle Souza and Beckie Walker read a eulogy. Sohm was an LHS band member and a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force, and was killed on Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011 in a small airplane crash outside of San Angelo, Texas. He was 23 years old.
According to Pollyann Winslow, the cemetery visit was followed by a tour of both the White House and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. The evening was spent at the Kennedy Center, where they saw the play “Shear Madness.”
“After Joe Conti played Taps at Peter Sohm’s grave, we speed walked to see the changing of the guard and the laying of the wreath,” band member Emily Buttafuoco said.
During the visit to the White House, a couple of canine celebrities were spotted.
“At the White House we saw Bo and Sunny, the First Family’s pets, running around the lawn,” said band member Anna Gruchot. “We had to wait an hour to get in, but it was worth it. We went through tight security. We got to go through a self-guided tour and we saw the Library, China Room, East Room, Red Room, and Dining Room. We saw vintage furniture and paintings. It was an amazing experience!”
Alli Martin said the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum was memorable for her.
“We got to see all the exhibits,” she said. “There were so many planes, and we got to go in a lot of them. One of my favorite exhibits was the World War I exhibit because we are learning about World War I in freshman World History, so I understood it very well and made connections to school. I also like the experiment exhibit. We got to try out different experiments about lift and pressure. We are learning about that in freshman science. I loved the museum – it was definitely worth visiting.”
Brittaney Brown enjoyed seeing “Shear Madness” at the Kennedy Center. “It included many New Hampshire jokes,” she said. “The entire audience laughed the entire time. It was the highlight of my day.”
After arriving in New York City, the band was treated to an evening cruise along the Hudson River, with the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and the United Nations all illuminated.
The band marched down Constitution Avenue in Washington and down Fifth Avenue in New York. “All of the New Yorkers were dressed in green and cheered us on,” Martin said. “ It was an amazing thing to entertain so many people.”
After the parade in New York City, the Londonderry contingent boarded buses and headed home. They arrived at home Monday night.