NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Drury High School band will again represent Massachusetts marching in the National Independence Day Parade in Washington, D.C.
The four-day trip from July 2-5 will take a busload of students and chaperones to the nation's capital to perform in the parade for the third time and to visit historic sites and museums. The band will march down Constitution Avenue for one mile between 7th and 17th streets. The parade organizers try to have at least one band or unit represent each of the 50 states.
"I'm very proud to have our students representing North Adams and Drury High School," band leader Christopher Caproni told the School Committee on Tuesday night in requesting permission for the trip, later adding, "So the band is an awesome band this year, musically, they're really in great shape. And we're very excited to have this trip opportunity."
The band was first recommended by then U.S. Sen. John Kerry and was invited to march in the 2011 parade after sending in video of the band marching in the Fall Foliage Festival Parade.
"Once we're invited, and they realized that we had a quality band program, now I have an open invitation," he said, adding that the students had chosen to go this year. "I plan to take the kids every three or four years because it's great to get them to the capital, and it's outside of school time."
The seniors on this trip were freshmen when they last marched in 2016. There are 12 seniors on the trip along with a handful of middle school students and seven chaperones.
Caproni said the band parents were committed to ensuring every band student who wanted to go could. The cost is $800 per person and fundraising efforts aided in reducing that expense to families.
"As we went through the fundraising this year, knowing we have families in need, the Drury band parents decided to give every student a $200 scholarship that was going on a trip," he said. "So that brought the student cost down to $600. So the band parents had fund raised $10,000 outside of general fundraising. Then upon looking at it further, we also gave an additional $100 to every senior ... then we also gave $100 if you are a sibling of a student on the trip ...
"I can tell you every student who was in the high school school band who were wanting to go on the trip is going."
Two weeks ago, parents and 22 students were able to raise $1,500 to make sure three students could go.
Some students had prior commitments or didn't want to go and their spots were filled out with seventh- and eighth-graders who have been participating in band.
In response to questions about behavior, Caproni said he keeps the kids busy — they're usually tired out and ready for bed by the end of the day.
"We get them up early, and it's hot, so they're tired anyways," he laughed. "If you've been to Washington, there is a lot of walking, because bus parking is always an issue. So sometimes it's a one- or two-mile walk just to get to where you left the bus."
"I found that he runs a pretty tight ship," said Superintendent Barbara Malkas. "He's never lost anybody yet."
Some activities, such as a trip to the U.S. Capitol Building, hearing the Marine Drum & Bugle Corps and seeing the U.S. Constitution, will include the entire group while other activities will be split off under the chaperones.
"A lot of times when we go to the museums, we're able to hit multiple museums and different kids can have different experiences of what they want to see," Caproni said.
Mayor Thomas Bernard, chairman of the School Committee, said he'd gone as a chaperone on the last trip in 2016.
"It is a remarkable experience. The students comport themselves incredibly well, because Mr. Caproni and the chaperones expect no less of them," he said. "So the quality of the the performance opportunity, the quality of the historic cultural immersion, and the ability to really have these students rise to the occasion is unlike anything you can imagine."
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During the coronavirus pandemic, our health concerns – for ourselves and our loved ones – have been at the top of our minds. But financial worries have been there, too, both for people whose employment has been affected and for investors anxious about the volatile financial markets.
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Of course, life is expensive, so it's not always easy to put away money in a fund that you aren't going to use for your normal cash flow. That’s why it's so important to establish a budget and stick to it. When developing such a budget, you may find ways to cut down on your spending, freeing up money that could be used to build your emergency fund.
There are different ways to establish a budget, but they all typically involve identifying your income and expenses and separating your needs and wants. You can find various online budgeting tools to help you get started, but, ultimately, it's up to you to make your budget work. Nonetheless, you may be pleasantly surprised at how painless it is to follow a budget. For example, if you have budgeted a certain amount for food each month, you will need to avoid going to the grocery store several times a week, just to pick up "a few things" – because it doesn't really take that many visits for those few things to add up to hundreds of dollars. You will be much better off limiting your trips to the grocery, making a list of the items you need and adhering to these lists. After doing this for a few months, see how much you have saved – it may be much more than you would expect. Besides using these savings to strengthen your emergency fund, you could also deploy them toward longer-term investments designed to help you reach other objectives, such as retirement.
Saving money is always a good idea, and when you use your savings to build an emergency fund, you can help yourself prepare for the unexpected and make progress toward your long-term goals.
The governor noted that people had been demonstrating outside the State House last week over their frustration with the slow pace of the reopening, and that several protests had been going on peacefully all day Sunday.
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