DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

August 22, 2012

Marching Lancers tune up for new year

Lancers march into new year

By James Niedzinski
jniedzinski@derrynews.com

---- — LONDONDERRY — Some high school students enjoy the beach or a road trip during the summer, but 307 dedicated members of the Marching Lancers and color guard sweated it out at practice last week.

The award-winning musicians were out in full force last week, practicing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m at the Larry Martin track and field behind the high school.

Hundreds of students stretched across the football field, synchronized and in formation, playing dozens of different instruments.

”We didn’t always have this field,” said Andrew Soucy, music director at Londonderry High School. “For years, we moved around to the front lawn, then the parking lot.”

Songs included selections from the musical “Chicago.” That was the theme in 2005, but students and fans enjoyed it so much, it was brought back this year, Soucy said.

Plenty of food, water and frozen treats kept the students energized and hydrated

The camp was made possible by volunteers, fundraisers, donations, discounts and the Londonderry Friends of Music Organization.

The FOM is responsible for fundraising for the Lancers, as well as volunteering when needed.

”Today, we went through about $600 worth of pizza in six minutes,” said Andrew Hayes, the director of FOM.

On any given day of band camp, 20 to 30 parents help out all day, making sure their sons, daughters and fellow band members are in top performing condition. Additionally, about another 20 parents stop in on their lunch break to help out, then head back to work, Hayes said.

Camp attendees had good weather, and the camp had a great turnout.

”We have close to 100 rate attendance rate right now,” said Serge Beaulieu, assistant music director at LHS. “However, because of a sport practice or other activity, during fall in particular, we do lose a few students at times.”

Although Soucy said the band is not quite ready yet, the musicians are making significant progress.

The week of band camp has paid off for the musicians and color guards involved with the Lancers.

“Practice is going well so far, we received the music earlier than we did last year, so we are a bit ahead of schedule,” said Sabrina Wallace, a senior snare drum player.

Teamwork and unity have been big themes this year. With more than 300 students all moving in a synchronized formation, timing and teamwork can be hard to achieve, Soucy said.

“This is the only department in the school district that expects the freshmen to know everything the seniors know,” Soucy said.

Senior Evan Kerns, one of 18 sousaphone players, said he will miss the band and the music once he graduates.

A sousaphone veteran who has played for four years, Kerns said at first lugging a brass behemoth around was tough, but now it he barely notices the weight of the instrument.

The marching band and color guard performed their first show of the year last week for Old Home Day. Additionally, Yamaha representatives visited to hand out shirts and meet some of the students. Yamaha was present because the drumline’s new instruments were purchased through the company.

For more information about the Lancers, including their upcoming schedule, visit lancermusic.org.