January 4, 2011

Marching Lancers Look Back at Trip of a Lifetime

Members of Londonderry High School’s Lancers marching band pose for a picture
 before performing in Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses Parade.
Union Leaded Correspondent
LONDONDERRY -- Though those tuning in to ABC network television likely missed most of the much-anticipated appearance of Londonderry High School’s Lancer marching band and color guard in Saturday’s Tournament of Roses Parade, there’s still plenty of ways to catch their New Year’s Day performance, Lancers spokeswoman Pollyann Winslow said last night.
The Londonderry High School Lancers marching band and color guard returned from their whirlwind California tour on Sunday, Jan. 2.
Saturday’s parade was covered by ABC networks, as well as the Hallmark and Home & Gardens cable channels and California local station KTLA Los Angeles.
Family members tuning in from home on Saturday reported that ABC cut to a commercial break at the most inopportune moment, causing them to miss most of the Lancers’ performance. However, Winslow noted the
 cable networks covering the event have since been airing the parade in full, both on television and over the Internet. 

“So there’s still a lot of ways to watch it,” Winslow said. “For those who watched the parade live, though, they most likely didn’t catch us on ABC.” 
Winslow, whose daughter performed with the Lancers band last week, said parade officials advised the Lancers to keep a certain distance from the marching unit in front of them, in hopes of ensuring each unit got its allotted coverage. 
“These are things that sometimes happen,” Winslow said. “Fortunately, we do know the parade is still being shared over the Web.” Though she’d prepared herself for this moment for well over a year, Londonderry High School drum major Michelle Mayer said nothing could have ever quite prepared her for the feeling that overcame her while marching in Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses Parade last Saturday. 
“I think the ultimate moment for me was when we turned onto Colorado Boulevard on New Year’s Day and I looked up and saw bleachers filled with people, and television cameras everywhere,” the high school senior said yesterday. 
For Mayer, who has been a drum major since her junior year, the trip marked her first Rose Bowl performance, as well as her first time visiting the state of California. 
The 305 students in the school’s marching band and color guard had been in California since Dec. 28: their five-day tour included performances at Disneyland, Pasadena City College and the Staples Center, before their ultimate California dream of marching in Saturday’s parade. 
Mayer said she enjoyed her time on the West Coast, despite the band’s hectic agenda. 
“It was warm outside, but in the distance you’d see snowcovered mountains,” she recalled. “There was a tough schedule; we had a lot on our plates. But it was worth it. Being backstage at Disneyland, that’s something most people never get a chance to see.” 
Junior drum major Helen Neiman recalled the Disneyland experience as one of her favorite trip moments. 
“The day after we arrived we spent all day there. We went on the rides all day and marched in their parade that night,” Neiman said. “All the holiday lights were up, and the crowds kept on cheering.” 
Neiman recalls performing for huge crowds and meeting bands from all over the country the following day, during a performance at Pasadena City College’s Bandfest. 
On Thursday night the band and color guard performed on the ice during halftime at a Los Angeles Kings game at the Staples Center. The stadium was packed, Neiman said. 
Though the Lancers had performed on the ice previously during a Manchester Monarchs game, this was a much grander scale. 
“Unlike the Monarchs game we played at, the whole stadium was packed,” Neiman said. “People were cheering. ‘Go New Hampshire, Go Londonderry!’” Friday was dedicated to rest and fun, as the Lancers and their chaperones enjoyed a visit to Six Flags Magic Mountain. Neiman said the three-hour time difference allowed her and the other Lancers to stay up until 9 p.m. to watch Times Square’s ball drop on television, before heading to bed to rest up for the big day. 
“Once we’d set up for the parade, we were standing in the televised area for about 15 minutes: a bit shorter than we’d expected,” Neiman recalled. “Towards the end of the parade, we stood in the same area for what felt like a very long time. This was unexpected.” 
They later learned that a float in front of them had broken down. 
“You usually don’t stop in the middle of a parade. But it gave the band some time to hydrate,” Neiman added. “After marching the first three and a half miles, it got pretty hot. Some of us got sunburns on one side of our faces.” 
As a drum major, Neiman marched in front of the band. 
“When we’d turn around, all you’d see is a huge sea of faces. I never imagined there’d be so many people there,” she recounted. “It was unbelievably awesome. We’d worked for this day for such a long time: It was a very proud moment.” 
Neiman said there were several flight delays during her arrival and departure, but she nevertheless felt fortunate to arrive at her destinations in a reasonable time. 
“Everyone arrived safely both ways. We still felt pretty lucky,” she said. 
“Luckily, my flight wasn’t delayed,” Mayer chimed in. “Some of my friends weren’t so lucky, but overall things all worked out okay. If it had snowed a day later, we probably wouldn’t have flown out there when we did.” 

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