— Days Without Shea —

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So Kingman's dad fell into some opening day tickets tomorrow. We won't be in Loge13 but I'm not changing the name of the blog to Upper Deck22 for one day. We'll also be in Loge13 Wednesday for the last Opening Day in our seats. So it will be a good, yet bittersweet, week of baseball.

I have learned with this blog that if you can't write anything nice about your feelings, then don't write - hence it's been a bit quiet the past few days as we enter into Shea's last April. The Mets play hasn't helped, either. But it's time to get psyched up and take down the Phillies.

Here's a little piece from Danbury's News Times about the last high school band to ever play a Shea Stadium opening day:

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.

His 140-student band and color guard were invited to perform on Tuesday, the home opener for the team's final season in Shea Stadium.

Though 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 once-in-a-lifetime chance."

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.

One 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.

He 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 descent.

"You hear the whole thing through the music," Grauer said. "And with all the jets that take off over Shea Stadium, it'll fit in."

Contact Nanci Hutson at nhutson@newstimes.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.





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