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Marching Royals to perform in St. Patrick's Day Parade in NYC (W/VIDEO)

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This week is spring break for all District 833 students; whereas some students will be catching up on sleep, others will head to the sun.

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The Woodbury High School Marching Royals marching band, however, will be heading to the Big Apple where it will perform in the 252nd New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 16.

The marching band will be in New York City from March 14-18.

"This just struck me as an amazing opportunity," WHS band director Brent Comeau said. "New York is such a mecca for performing arts."

The parade will feature more than 150,000 marchers and performers and

attracts over 2.5 million spectators every year.

Prepping for St. Patrick's Day

Last year, Comeau was approached by the organizers of the St. Patrick's Day Parade about submitting an application to perform.

"The parade solicits bands that have performed in other notable performances," Comeau said, "and ours was the Waikiki Holiday Parade."

Comeau said he decided to submit the application because the marching band looks for a touring opportunity every year.

"I try to find opportunities for students that will be memorable," he said.

The Marching Royals were eventually chosen to participate in the parade.

For the past several months, the marching band has been rehearsing two songs for the parade - "Minnesota March" by John Philip Sousa and "Good Time" by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen.

"You get the old traditional marching band tune and the new pop stuff," Comeau said.

He said rehearsing has been a challenge since they have had to practice inside.

"Rehearsing the marching band in the middle of winter is an interesting endeavor," he said. "We've been marching around the inside track."

Since the parade is 2.5 miles, Comeau said he has also been working to help get students in shape.

"There's been some conditioning to get them ready for the physical side of things," he said.

New York City bound

In addition to the performance in the parade, the marching band will also spend some time seeing New York City.

The group will see "The Lion King" on Broadway, in addition to attending a Broadway musical workshop where they will work with the musical director of "Annie" to learn a couple of the songs and then perform the song with a member of the cast.

The marching band will also visit Rockefeller Center, Central Park, Times Square, the 9/11 Memorial and FDNY Memorial Wall, and take a harbor cruise where they will see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

"The itinerary is just packed," Comeau said.

Comeau said the St. Patrick's Day Parade, and all future touring opportunities, will provide great opportunities to students.

"It's a great opportunity to expose these young people to what the rest of the world has to offer," he said. "It just helps them be more worldly.

"There are so many just incredible opportunities like this all over the country and I'm already trying to find yet another performing opportunity."

The Marching Royals will give a sendoff performance Thursday at 7:45 a.m. in the WHS auditorium. The marching band will perform the two songs it will play in the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade. Everyone is invited to attend. Visit www.woodburybulletin.com for a video of the performance.

The Woodbury High School Marching Royals will be performing in the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 16. The band is expected to reach the television cameras between 1:30 and 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The parade will be streamed live online at www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air.

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Amber Kispert-Smith
Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.
(651) 702-0976
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