Friday, November 19, 2004

Glory Days


I’ve got practice this Sunday for my other passion – music. Back in the glory days of high school, I was a member of the Bishop Kearney Marching Kings, which was one of the powerhouse programs in the nation.

We played for kings and popes, and took home pretty much every award possible. I was a trumpet soloist for the Kings, and the highlight for me was our trip to Ireland in 1979. We captured every award there, including Best Band in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin. Here's a shot of from the newspaper showing us at the reviewing stand. That's me just to the left and behind the baton twirler in the center of the picture.

The music was what made us so special. Ray Shahin arranged the music and directed the band during its peak years. Click here to listen to one of our songs that I was fortunate enough to play a solo. Here's another - our theme song, "Somewhere". Getting to play one of the solos was a huge honor. This last one really shows off all the musicians.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun and was a great experience for me - I have lasting friendships and lots of nice memories. That's all they were until last year when the hundreds of alumni from the era when the Kings ruled (1967-1983) decided to have a reunion. A website was created and things finally came together in a gala in July of 2003.

We had so much fun that some of us decided to dust off our instruments and perform again. Alumni from all over the world participated. The music was posted on the internet and those of us close enough got together to practice. The rest flew in for a quick practice and then the parade.

It was a big deal here in Rochester, with over 10,000 people at the parade. People were literally crying when they heard the songs again - we were shocked at the nostalgia we all felt. An amazing day, made possible by a lot of hard work from organizers and musicians. Here's a pic someone took of me that day:


We have since reformed to play at Bishop Kearney's homecoming in October, and again the people in the stands were wonderful to us. Here's a shot from our halftime show. That's the three soloists out front to the right of the tuba. I am in the middle.


So we continue to practice - a Christmas Concert is planned. I had forgotten how much I love to play.


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