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Student conductor Danielle Souza, a junior at Londonderry High School, leads the band during Thursday night's rehearsal. The Marching Lancers and Color Guard will spend four days in Washingon, DC later this month where they'll perform in the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Parade. (APRIL GUILMET/Union Leader Correspondent)

Londonderry marching band ready for D.C.

LONDONDERRY - Not many high school students get the chance to perform for the President of the United States, but then again, Londonderry High School's Marching Lancers aren't exactly your typical high school students.

On Jan. 21, the 305 young musicians and color guard members will make history during their return visit to Capital Hill to march in the Presidential Inaugural Parade.for the second time. The invitation was made official on Dec. 18, when a representative of the Presidential Inaugural Committee contacted the school with the news.

In 2009 the Lancers were the sole Granite State band to perform in the Inaugural Parade: Music Director Andy Soucy said the band had applied for a parade spot on several occasions previously though it hadn't made the final cut. It took seven buses to transport the band members, staff and parent chaperones during their maiden trip. On Thursday evening the well-tuned teens were in full swing inside the high school cafeteria, where they treated U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte to a special preview performance.

A big supporter of the local marching band, Ayotte contacted the 2012 Presidential Inaugural Committee in late October urging parade officials to consider a repeat performance.

Last month an invitation to Washington, D.C., was extended to the local teens, and ever since there's been much preparation under way.

Thursday night, the band played on., offering up a lively medley of patriotic tunes to the dozens of local parents, community members and friends who'd gathered at the high school, eager to show their support.

"This is just one more opportunity for a trip of a lifetime," Superintendent Nathan Greenberg told the teens.

"We'll be watching you at home, as will millions of people around the nation and around the world."

"Once again, you've made us so proud," Principal Jason Parent chimed in.

Ayotte, who attended Thursday night's performance with daughter Kate, 8, and son Jake, 5, reminded the Lancers that "they wouldn't be here without such a great leader," smiling at Soucy. "What a great honor this is for you, and for New Hampshire," she told them.

The Londonderry High School Lancers previously performed during four of the Tournament of Roses Parades in Pasadena, Calif., and in 2008 they crossed the globe to perform at the Beijing Olympic Cultural Music Festival in China.

The Lancers will depart for Washington on Saturday, Jan. 19, and return on Jan. 22.


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