The first and only time the LHSGB Spring Concert has started late (at 8:05pm, rather than the obligatory 8:00pm) –but for good reason: Unbeknownst to the audience, the entire Grenadier Band was assembled just outside, in BASD Stadium, anxiously awaiting the landing of our guest soloist, WO1 Kevin Coates (Band Sgt. Major of the Coldstream Guards Band). Kevin, who had rehearsed with us earlier in the week, had to make an emergency midweek return back to England, due to the unexpected passing of the Queen Mum. Immediately after performing funeral ceremonies with the Coldstream Guards Band in London, Kevin insisted on flying back to the U.S to perform with the LHSGB, arriving Newark Airport at 6:40pm, Friday…where a two-seater helicopter (and a back-up police car escort) awaited. As helicopter pilot Dr. Michael Selig drew closer to Bethlehem, the BASD Stadium lights were turned on. This, and 250 Grenadiers in the bleachers, in their scarlet tunics, waving excitedly to the night sky, served as the perfect landmark. Dr. Selig and Kevin Coates made a picture-perfect landing on the 50yd. line at exactly 8:00pm. …and on with the show! (It should also be noted that Kevin did not want to let our students down, and insisted that he return at his own expense. Upon hearing this, our audience “passed the hat” during the concert, and donated over $1,000 to offset all of his out of pocket costs!)
April 5 & 6
“Celebrating Liberty & America” Grenadier Band Spring Concert, marking our school’s 80th anniversary and the Grenadier Band’s 75th. Also taking part in the concert: Director Emeritus Ron Sherry & Guest Cornet Soloist Sgt. Major Kevin Coates, WO1, Band of Her Majesty’s Coldstream Guards.
LHSGB trip to Disneyworld, Florida
Originally, the band received approval to travel to Vancouver, British Columbia. But, due to the events of 9/11, there was broad-based concern about students traveling beyond our borders, as well as booking regularly scheduled flights. We were able to obtain charter aircraft (Miami Air). As a result, the alternative Disney trip was greeted with overwhelming support.
Ephrata Fair Parade, 1st Place
LHSGB is selected as only one of two bands from the Commonwealth to perform at the swearing-in ceremony of PA Governor Ed Rendell in Harrisburg. Soon after, the Grenadiers join the rest of the bands from across the state to march in Gov. Rendell’s Parade. (It was a frigid, windy day, and we wish to thank State Representative Steve Samuelson for providing the LHSGB refuge in the State Capital cafeteria between the ceremony and parade!)
Orchestra trip to Puerto Rico
March 28 & 29
Grenadier Band Spring Concert with Coldstream Guards Band Director of Music Major Graham Jones and Band Sgt. Major Kevin Coates, WO1 (Cornet Soloist). Major Jones also directed some of his own compositios for bagpipes and band. Also at the concert, LHS Principal William Burkhardt was surprised and recognized by the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association as the “2003 Principal of the Year”, due to his support of music education at Liberty HS.
Hershey Centennial Parade – The Grenadiers place 1st out of 32 other high school bands from throughout the state.
Ephrata Fair Parade, 2nd Place
LHS hosts PMEA District 10 Orchestra Festival, Guest Conductor Paul Chou (Lehigh University)
March 19 & 20
Grenadier Band Spring Concert – WO1 Kevin Coates MBE returns as guest cornet soloist. After dedicating 28+ years to the Coldstream Guards Band, he announces his retirement. In turn, for all of his support to our music program, we designate him honorary Senior Band Sergeant Major, LHSGB!
The LHSGB’s 5th Tour of United Kingdom and joint concert with the Regimental Band of Her Majesty’s Coldstream Guards. The April 19 gala joint concert was performed at Fairfield Halls, Croydon, England. On hand to listen and celebrate were retired Coldstream Guards Band Directors Major Roger Swift and Major David Marshall, and retired Coldstream Band members Sgt. Gayle Lawson and WO1 Kevin Coates (who also performed). Coldstream Guards Director of Music Major Graham Jones also greeted and arranged for our students to watch Guard Changing in the forecourt of Wellington Barracks and at Windsor Castle, where the Coldstream Guards Band performed for both occasions. The LHSGB took the opportunity to again attend shows in the West End Theatre district, as well as sightsee and shop throughout London.
Ephrata Fair Parade, 1st Place
New Holland Parade, 1st Place, Best Drum Major
Puerto Rico – Orchestra Trip
Ephrata Fair Parade, 2nd Place
New Holland Parade, Honor Band
Grenadier Band trip to Disney Magic Music Days, Orlando, Florida
A great trip unexpectedly (then 8-15) extended when a Nor’easter blizzard cancelled our return flight to Newark. The LHSGB became “stranded” in Florida for an additional 3 days, until Continental Airlines could arrange for another flight home. When Disney had no more availability at the All-Star Music Resort, they upgraded us to their Coronado Springs Resort. Travel insurance – don’t leave home without it!
Hazelton Funfest Parade, 1st Place
LHSGB travels to Hawaii, after being selected as Honor Band for the Waikiki Holiday Parade. LeRohn “Dan” Deysher, LHS Class of 1939 and Pearl Harbor vet who served aboard the USS Pennsyvania and played trumpet in the ship’s band, joined the LHSGB in playing Taps/Eternal Father as part of the parade finale at the reviewing stand. Even the commander of the Pacific Fleet was in attendance, and there wasn’t a dry eye! The Grenadier Band also performed at the USS Missouri, laid a wreath at the USS Arizona Memorial, and enjoyed the Polynesian Cultural Center, snorkeling at Hunama Bay, hiking up Diamond Head, Dole Plantation/North Shore, and of course, the AMAZING view from our beachfront Waikiki Marriott hotel. A huge Mahalo to parade president Jake Peppers for inviting us and designating the LHSGB parade Honor Band!
Hazelton Funfest Parade, 1st Place
Invitation of the LHSGB to the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade is announced at the annual Liberty-Freedom football game…and the crowd goes wild!
Orchestra trip to Puerto Rico
The day we arrived, Puerto Rico’s teachers went on strike; and, in turn, their schools closed….a real problem, for this is where all of our concerts were scheduled, and where equipment we planned to borrow was stored. Still, we had great experiences: a concert performed by the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra in San Juan, some beautiful museums in Caguas, Arecibo Observatory (radio telescope), the bioluminescent bay in LaJas, Old San Juan and El Moro..and extra time at Crashboat Beach!
LHSGB reaches new heights at the annual Liberty-Freedom game, as 5 skydivers take part in the Grenadiers’ halftime extravaganza, each parachuting onto the 50 yd. line, donning 50’ red & blue streamers, all serenaded by the band performing Liberty Forever and LHS Fight.
LHSGB marches in the 120th Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena, CA. As luck would have it, Penn State made it into the Rose Bowl against USC. In addition to the international television Jan.(2009coverage, the crowd reaction elicited by the LHSGB along the parade route was outstanding (there were droves of Penn State fans from our home state, and an equal amount of UCLA fans who wanted Penn State to beat USC.) The LHSGB also performed its fieldshow at the Tof R’s Bandfest, and paraded in Disneyland. As we warmed-up for Disney’s parade, we shared the backstage dressing area with three other bands also marching in the Main Street afternoon parade: The Penn State Blue Band, USC Trojan Band, and Hawaiian All-State Honors High School Band…what a line up! We also visited Santa Monica Beach, and toured Hollywood, where our beautiful Renaissance Hotel was located. Our final night of the trip, we were treated to an unbelievable surprise: the Kodak Theatre (right next door to our hotel) invited all 250 of our students/chaperones to see their production of A Christmas Carol, complete with an exclusive pre-show tour, premium seats, and, after the show, a personal on-stage meet & greet with the stars John Goodman and Christopher Lloyd….a fitting end to a great trip!
LHS hosts PMEA District 10 Orchestra Festival, Guest Conductor Dr. Paul Salerni (Lehigh University)
1st Company of the LHSGB performs a floor display at Stabler Arena (Lehigh University) to open for the Regimental Band of Her Majesty’s Irish Guards. Stabler Arena was one of the first stops on the Irish Guards Band’s North American Tour.
Orchestra trip to Boston
Great listening experiences, including The Boston Symphony Orchestra (with piano soloist Emmanuel Axe), Mel Brooks’ musical Young Frankenstein, Blue Man Group, a live Jazz breakfast, and lunch at the Hard Rock Café. We also shopped Quincy Market, Newbury St., & The Prudential Center, and toured Fenway Park and some of Boston’s finest educational institutions: Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern University, Harvard, MIT, and Berklee School of Music.
Grenadier Band trip to Disney Magic Music Days, Orlando, FL. LHSGB parades twice through Main Street, Magic Kingdom, and the 1st Company parades through Epcot. We almost didn’t make it – snow and ice on departure day cancelled our original flights out of Newark. After some anxious moments, our travel agent, Gateway Music Festivals, was able to rebook flights out of Philadelphia, and we missed but a few hours of the original trip itinerary.
Liberty-Freedom Game – “God Bless the USA” (complete with our field show debute of fireworks!), commemorating 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor & 10th anniversary of 9/11, featuring LHS grad. John Rodgers singing the Lee Greenwood vocal, and Dan Deysher playing “Taps” in anticipation of our band trip to Hawaii.
LHSGB again travels to Hawaii, but this time for the 70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Waikiki Holiday Parade President Jake Peppers again features the LHSGB as Honor Band, and LeRohn “Dan” Deysher, LHS Class of 1939 and Pearl Harbor vet, rejoins the LHSGB in playing Taps/Eternal Father as part of the parade finale at the reviewing stand.
Lehigh Valley Music Awards again names the LHSGB as the region’s “Best Marching Band”. Since the inception of this award category by the LVMA in 2010, the Grenadiers remain consecutive and sole recipients of this honor.
Where else to announce that the LHSGB has again been accepted to the Tournament of Roses Parade, but, of course, at the annual Liberty/Freedom game! T of R Vice Chair of Music Gary Leonard flies in from California to deliver the great news, escorted by the Bethlehem Police motorcycle brigade, complete with a huge 15’ x 25’Pasadena Tournament of Roses banner elevated backfield, and two 15’ x 25’ LHS banners hoisted forefield. Surrounded by Dr. Roy, Dr. Silva, Principal Bailey, Mayor Callahan, PA Representative Steve Samuelson, Mr. MacGill, Mr. Long, and BSM Colin Worrich, Mr. Leonard’s invitation to the 2014 Pasadena Rose Parade is greeted with a salvo of fireworks and thunderous applause.
It seems everyone in town knows there’s a party…except for Greg MacGill. He’s caught completely off guard at the annual LHSGB Spring Concert, as Kevin Long and the students and parents put together a “cast of thousands” to celebrate Greg’s retirement after 35 years with the BASD and Liberty HS. Guests have flown in from around the globe, including our friends from the Coldstream Guards Band (Kevin Coates, Gale Lawson, and Jonathan Smith), firedancer Boyd Luano from Hawaii, and orchestra director Yasuto Kimura from Japan. Our many alumni in attendance join the LHSGB in performing a tribute penned by Jonathan Smith, including solos by Jared Antonacci, Owen Cunningham, Kevin Coates, Jonathan Smith, and West Coast drummer Jimmy DeGrasso. …and 2014 Tournament of Roses Scott Jenkins and his wife fly in to officially present the LHSGB with the tournament banner. What a showstopper!
The Boston-NYC Orchestra Trip was disrupted by the terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon. Our two buses were literally on the New York Thruway en route to a seemingly secure Boston when we received word that authorities had shut down the city, with the suspects now cornered. With the buses but a few miles from West Point, we opted to instead tour their campus, complete with a magnificent dinner at their hotel…all within a secure environment and arranged within a ½ hour’s notice – thanks to the folks at West Point and Transbridge Bus Lines! We made it back home that same Friday. However, we were still able to complete the New York City portion of the trip on Sunday, attending the Broadway musical, “Newsies”, complete with some leisurely shopping/dining in Times Square. Throughout, our students (and their parents) demonstrated great flexibility, as well as compassion for the victims of the terrorist bombing.
Greg MacGill retires, and Kevin Long becomes Liberty High School Band Director (4th one since 1926). Allen Frank is hired as LHS Assistant Band Director.