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Londonderry band takes 1 trip for 2 parades

LONDONDERRY — As they embark on a trip spanning two parade performances, the Londonderry Lancers’ “Tale of Two Cities” will have its moments of joy and sorrow.

In addition to marching in St. Patrick’s Day parades in Washington, D.C., this Sunday and in New York City on Monday, members of the high school’s marching band and color guard will pay tribute to one of their fallen.

While in the nation’s capital this weekend, the 255 students and their 30 adult chaperones plan to stop by Arlington National Cemetery.

The cemetery is the final resting place of U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Peter Sohm, a 2006 Londonderry High School graduate who died in a plane crash in April 2011 while on active duty in western Texas.

Sohm, a talented trumpeter, was an active member of the Marching Lancers during his high school years, according to Music Director Andrew Soucy.

“We’ll observe a moment of silence at the grave, place some fresh flowers there,” said Soucy.

Friends of Music spokesman Pollyann Winslow recalled Sohm’s solo performance during his senior year, when he played Chicago’s “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is” at halftime during a Lancers football game. Last fall senior Joe Conti performed the same number in memory of his fallen peer. Conti will perform “Taps” in the cemetery this weekend.

“Honoring the military and remembering former students is an engrained tradition at Londonderry High School,” Winslow said.

The Lancers boarded buses Friday morning bound for Washington, where they’ll have some time to explore the White House, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and the Kennedy Center before Sunday’s parade.Immediately after the parade they’ll depart for New York City, where they will relax on a dinner cruise along the Hudson River before Monday’s final performance.

Soucy said it’s been about 13 years since he’s taken students on a two-stop tour.“This type of trip definitely presents some challenges as there are two cities and two separate parades involved,” he said. “There are two hotels, two schedules and two different sets of activities to provide.”

The Lancers will return to Londonderry Monday evening after the New York City parade.

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