by Eric Shor
The trumpets are aligned. The miniature American flags are set to wave through the crowd. All eyes are directed south on East Broad waiting for the annual Memorial Day Parade.
Each Memorial Day, the Westfield community gathers to view a parade designed to commemorate its veterans. In what has become tradition, the WHS Marching Band will be playing at the parade festivities in downtown Westfield on May 28 at 8 a.m.
WHS Marching Band Director Mr. Chris Vitale sees the parade as a “great opportunity for the band to represent [our] music department, our school and our community on this special day.”
Westfield Department of Fine Arts Supervisor Dr. Linda King echoed Vitale’s perception. “It is extremely important for the WHS Marching Band to attend this wonderful parade honoring our troops and representing the high school,” said King.
Many members of the band recognize the magnitude of their performance. “It means a lot to be able to salute the brave men and women who gave their lives in the name of our country,” said junior David Gruskin.
According to Senior Drum Major Michael Aronson, the parade performance is a great honor because of the meaning of the holiday.
Some of the songs scheduled to be performed are “The Star Spangled Banner,” “Anchors Away” and other themes from the armed forces, according to Gruskin.
Senior Trumpeter Clay Beyert will be performing a rendition of “Taps” as part of the opening ceremonies. “It is a huge honor for me to perform this piece, especially on Memorial Day,” he added.
According to King, the parade performance ranks as the band’s best all year. “This performance is at the top of the rank as far as importance. Without the freedom that we currently have because of everyone who fought for us, we would not have the [other] performances,” King said.
Several members of the band said that there was a rehearsal May 20 in the WHS Auditorium in preparation for the performance.
According to westfieldnjk12.org, some members of the WHS Marching Band will also be performing in an upcoming jazz concert to be held at WHS on May 29 at 7:30 p.m.