Gloversville bands to perform in D.C.

The Gloversville Middle School band wore matching T-shirts while performing during the Gloversville Memorial Day Parade. Middle School Band Director Marissa Izykowski said during the May 29 Board of Education meeting her goal is to get the students fitted to wear marching band uniforms the school already has in time for use during next year's parade. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE –The middle school band is due to get a new look next school year and visit the nation’s capital to perform and honor veterans following their successful appearance in the city’s Memorial Day parade.

Gloversville Middle School Band Director Marissa Izykowski appeared before the Gloversville Enlarged School District Board of Education during the May 29 meeting to fill the board in on early plans for the seventh-and eighth-grade band to participate in a Veterans Day parade in Washington, D.C. next school year.

Izykowski said there are currently 24 students committed to making the bus trip with about 18 parents interested in serving as chaperones on the four day, three night outing that will leave on Friday and return on Monday.

While billed as a parade, Izykowski said, “It’s actually just a big two day event to honor the veterans, obviously there’s no better place than D.C.”

During the trip, the middle school will play three performances, two featuring preselected music to be performed with other school bands from around the country at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and a feature performance at the U.S. Air Force Memorial.

The band will play music selected by Izykowski during the feature performance. She said she already has the selected pieces for the other two performances for the students to learn.

Band students will also enjoy sightseeing while on the trip, including a dinner cruise on the Potomac River. Although there is an itinerary for student parade participants, Izykowski said the middle school group can make their own plans if there is something the students want to see.

“We could kind of tailor the trip a little bit more to our needs,” Izykowski said.

The total cost of the trip will be about $600 per student, but Izykowski said she asked for an initial commitment of $50 from each student with plans for students and parents to fundraise to offset the remaining cost.

She added that she told students who want to make the trip, but are unable to afford the $50 commitment, to talk to her so arrangements could be made allowing them to go. So far there has been no interest in this option.

A few hours prior to the school board meeting Izykowski held an organizational meeting attended by parents of 23 out of the 24 interested students to discuss details of the trip and brainstorm fundraising ideas.

“I have a lot of parents that are really eager and have a ton of great ideas, which is awesome,” Izykowski said.

Details surrounding what students will wear during the trip have not been determined, Izykowski said a full band uniform was not required for participation.

“It’s not an official parade,” Izykowski explained. “I’m not exactly sure what the expectation is, I know it isn’t the full uniform because I did ask that question. Whether it be some sort of matching nice polos that we make or something, that’s on the list of questions that I still have.”

The Board of Education was complimentary of the middle school band’s performance during the city’s Memorial Day parade the day before, but noticed that bands from other school districts wore marching band uniforms unlike the bands from Gloversville High School and Middle School who wore matching T-shirts instead.

“I love the fact that the middle school and the high school were represented,” Board of Education member Paula Brown-Weinstock “Every other band has these wonderful uniforms.”

Izykowski said she has marching band uniforms for the middle school band, but hasn’t been able to use them recently due to the time and work needed to make alterations to fit the students. She said her goal for next year is to get the uniforms ready for use with help from other teachers.

“I’ve got some teachers at the middle school that offered to help me, because I do it by myself and with 40 kids it is challenging to get them fitted,” Izykowski said. “As far as the [Memorial Day] parade goes for next year that is my ultimate goal, is to get them back into the wardrobe that I have in the middle school.”

Izykowski noted that she still has about 10 open spots on the bus for the middle school band’s trip to participate in the Veterans Day parade in Washington.

“I think it would be a great opportunity for the students. I spent some time down in D.C. and there’s so much to do, so much to learn,” Izykowski said.