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Alexandria band marches to East Coast beat

Megan Ferguson marches with the Alexandria Marching Band in Bristol, Rhode Island. (Contributed) 1 / 3
The Alexandria Marching Band marched in Bristol, Rhode Island on the Fourth of July. (Contributed)2 / 3
The Alexandria Marching Band's color guard leads the way in Bristol, Rhode Island. (Contributed)3 / 3

Faraway audiences marched to the beat of the Alexandria Marching Band drums as the Alexandria Area High School group toured the East Coast.

The marching band toured June 30-July 7 with a packed itinerary of educational opportunities, fun and musical performances.

Some of the sights on the tour included:

• Niagara Falls in New York.

• Touring the historic USS Constitution ship and Bunker Hill Museum in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

• Paul Revere's house and other historic places in Boston.

The band performed in the "Night before the 4th of July Parade" in Boston.

On the Fourth of July, the Alexandria Marching Band marched in a televised parade in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Jack Ballou, a trombone player who will be a senior at AAHS in the fall, said his favorite part of the trip was marching in the Rhode Island parade because of the appreciative, enthusiastic crowd.

"The crowd was super into the band...people were chanting stuff at us the whole time," said Brenan Chase, a baritone player who graduated this past spring.

The crowd yelled things like "I love Minnesota," Chase said.

The band stayed at a hotel in nearby New Jersey for two nights, as they visited New York City during the last two days of their trip.

In New York City, the band first went to Rockefeller Plaza where they watched a filming of the NBC TODAY Show — several members even got on TV.

During free time, students went sightseeing at places including Central Park, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and of course, Trump Tower.

The band toured the Radio City Music Hall, and later attended the Broadway play, "Wicked" at the Gershwin Theatre.

On their final day before traveling home, the marching band visited Ground Zero, the 9/11 Memorial Pools, and the National September 9/11 Museum

"I think we learned a lot... everyone was amazed by it," said Megan Ferguson, the band drum major, about the 9/11 museum.

They also shopped in Little Italy and Chinatown, and walked along the beach at Coney Island.

The Alexandria Marching Band's season ended for the year after arriving back in Alexandria, Minnesota on July 7.

"We saw a lot of people improve a ton," said Ferguson about the marching season. She mentioned that there were many younger students in the band this year, and how it was cool to see the marching band skills click for them.

"The Alexandria Marching band continued to build off the success of the previous year," director Matthew Winarski said in an email. He directed the band along with Derek Ziemer.

Winarski said the band continued something they implemented last year, kicking off their season with a music camp during Memorial Day weekend. The camp allows for students to concentrate on learning the music performance routine for one weekend.

"Our scores have improved from it, but also the community of the band as a whole has improved," Winarski said about the camp.

A video of the Alexandria Marching Band performance in Rhode Island can be found by visiting the band Facebook page: @Alexandriabands