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October 1, 2009

Marching Lancers invited to fourth Rose Bowl parade

LONDONDERRY — When Londonderry High drum major Michelle Mayer was called to the center podium during last Friday's halftime show she wasn't sure what to expect.

"I had no idea what was going on," Michelle, a junior, said.

The football game's announcer Kevin Smith said there was an urgent call from California and put Music Director Andy Soucy's cell phone up to the microphone.

Then the voice of Jeffrey Throop, president of the Rose Bowl Parade, came over the loud speaker to announce that the Lancers will be one of 15 high school marching bands chosen to participate in the Rose Bowl Parade on New Year's Day, 2011. They will represent New England and New York.

"I've wanted to do this since I was a freshman," an excited Michelle said Monday by phone.

"It's going to be a lot of work to get ready for this, but it's incredible. I can't wait."

Michelle and her fellow drum majors — Lauren Bolles and Brandon Cardwell — and the color guard captains were presented with bouquets of red roses during the announcement. This was a nice touch orchestrated by Soucy who hid five dozen roses under trash can liners.

"I wanted to create some drama, and I think we did," Soucy said.

Soucy and Assistant Music Director Serge Beaulieu kept the secret under wraps until the Friday night football game against West High School. They let Smith in on the plan and Soucy gave him a script to read before the phone call.

"It was like a 'Disney moment,'" Soucy said.

"The only thing missing was a John Williams sound tract."

This will be the Marching Lancers fourth appearance in the prestigious parade. The group, now at 320 members, performed in 1992, 1997 and 2004.

Soucy is curious as to who will be the grand marshal of the 2011 parade.

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