With only two weeks to
prepare, New Milford High School band director and rabid New York Mets
fan Jonathan Grauer got an offer too good to refuse.
140-student band and color guard were invited to perform on Tuesday,
the home opener for the team's final season in Shea Stadium.
it was also just two weeks before their spring competition in Virginia
Beach, Grauer received a nearly unanimous "Let's go" when he asked
band's members about playing at the game.
"It's the last time
we'll ever be able to go on that field," said Danielle Bresson, a
junior who plays clarinet and roots for the Mets. "I'll remember this
for the rest of my life."
She is a little nervous how she'll feel
when the group stands in center field minutes before the very last
opening pitch glides across home plate. "I hope I can make a good sound
and please the fans."
"That we got selected is awesome," said Tim
Farrell, a junior trombone player wearing a Mets T-shirt. "This is a
Junior Rebecca Lastra, who plays
flute, said she was a bit worried about getting quickly back up to
speed on their fall repertoire, but found she had no trouble memorizing
the music despite other demands on her time.
"I think it'll be
cool, so fun," said Lastra, who played with the band at one of the
Mets' spring games in 2007. "A lot of people will be there to hear us.
Last year it was fun, but this will just be even more so."
Grauer had hoped the band would be selected to perform again this spring -- 25 to 30 high school bands are chosen -- but had no idea it would be Tuesday.
of the reasons for the honor, he thinks, is the band's size and
organization. The Mets are quite detail-oriented, and last year New
Milford's students didn't miss a step, he said.
"This came out of
nowhere," he said of the invitation. "But when you're asked to play for
the last year (in the stadium) ever, you don't say no. To be asked to
play on opening day is pretty cool."
Soon the band was
rehearsing and memorizing music the members hadn't looked at in months,
at the same time they were working on pieces for the coming competition
and their May concert.
"It was a little rough at the start,"
Grauer admitted, but the students kept a positive attitude and he's
confident they'll do well Tuesday.
The game starts at 1:10 p.m.
and his musicians -- with the color guard directed by Seema Soni --
will be ready to play their first note at precisely 12:47 p.m.
thinks "Flight," the eight-minute show they'll perform, is the perfect
choice for this environment. Its rhythmic and melodic takeoff is
followed by soaring sounds that meld into turbulence before the final
"You hear the whole thing through the music," Grauer
said. "And with all the jets that take off over Shea Stadium, it'll fit
Contact Nanci Hutson at email@example.com or at (860) 354-2274.
Green Wave band performance highlights
New Milford High School's marching band and color guard were chosen to
perform Tuesday at the New York Mets' home opener at Shea Stadium.
In past years, the band has been selected to perform at other
high-profile events: the Gator Bowl college football championships in
Jacksonville, Fla.; the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade, a Mets'
game last year at Shea Stadium, and various competitions in Cleveland,
Montreal and Virginia Beach.