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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Calling all area Muchachos

July 06. 2014 10:05PM

If you feed them, they will come. I think this new strategy by the Muchachos Drum and Bugle Corps to improve attendance at their big, annual show just might work.

In addition to entertaining performances by drum and bugle corps from across the country and Canada, this year’s Fiesta de Musica at Memorial High School on Saturday, July 19, will feature food trucks from all over New England.

Through reality television shows such as “The Great Food Truck Race” on The Food Network, and “Food Truck Face Off” on the Cooking Channel, I have learned that some pretty tasty stuff can be cooked on a truck. Some selections available at Fiesta de Musica will include grilled artisanal bread sandwiches made with local and natural ingredients from Grillicious, international dishes from Jamaica Mi Hungry and dessert from the Whoo(pie) Wagon.

The addition of food trucks is an attempt to draw more people to the Muchachos’ annual show and tell the community about the opportunity the Muchachos provide for new and seasoned musicians. Ken Vachon, the Muchachos’ publicity chairman, said he started playing with the Muchachos at age 10. At that time, he said, New Hampshire had more than a dozen active drum and bugle corps. Today, only the Muchachos and the Nashua Spartans remain, and finding new members is a struggle.

“I know I am biased by my long-time association with the organization, but it did so much for me as a youngster and later in my teen years up to the age of 21,” Vachon said. “With our dwindling membership I feel that we are losing such a worthwhile opportunity for so many Greater Manchester area young people and even adults who want to learn music and the performing arts in a low-cost, non-competitive, family-friendly atmosphere.”

Anyone, regardless of age, musical ability or background, can join the Muchachos to learn how to march and play in either the drum line, brass line or color guard. And Vachon said joining the Muchachos is a perfect opportunity for high school band members to continue learning and improving during the summer months.

“We are not out to take away members from the area high school bands, but simply to offer them additional opportunities to continue their music and performance opportunities,” he said. Scholarships are available for people who cannot pay the $200 annual membership dues.

Vachon and his group clearly believe in the importance of musical arts for young people, and I love their willingness to try something new. I hope the new festival atmosphere helps the Muchachos attract the audience, membership and community support they need to keep the group and their annual event going.

“We really need the community to realize that the Muchachos are Manchester’s music ambassadors and take steps to keep us going,” he said.

Fiesta de Musica is from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., with musical performances beginning at 5:30 p.m. Reserved tickets are $15. General admission is $12, and seniors, children under 12 and groups of 10 or more pay $10 per person. Food truck meals are extra. A link to purchase tickets can be found at

Parker’s Park

While you are at Fiesta de Musica, be sure to check out the major facelift to the area in front of Memorial High School known as Bicentennial Park. Recent graduate Parker Ricker renovated the park and the area around the Crusaders sign as his Eagle Scout Project this spring. It looks great.

You can see before and after pictures at

Sneakers and speakers

If you take a trip over to the Red Hook Brewery in Portsmouth this Saturday you can help do some good in Manchester.

It’s the second annual Speakers and Sneakers Benefit Concert to support the Rock On Foundation started by Griffin York and Krause employee Luke Bonner and his NBA star brother Matt Bonner to help increase community artistic and athletic opportunities.

Locally, the foundation has supported the Manchester Community Music School and has plans to renovate some inner-city basketball courts.

Sneakers and Speakers starts at 2:30 p.m. and features music by Okkervil River, Kevin Devine and the Gd Band, The Whigs, Jason Anderson, and Hawk and Dove. There will also be lawn games, food vendors and other surprises. Tickets are $15 in advance or $25 at the door and you must be at least 21 to attend.

Visit for more information.

From Clam King to clambake

The former Clam King on Second Street officially opened over the weekend as Ipswich Clambake and Castaways’ Tavern. One of the owners, Mike Moran, said the menu will be slightly different from the first Ipswich Clambake in Ipswich, Mass. — adding items like steak, pasta and some gluten-free options to the seafood fare.

I am looking forward to seeing the mobile version of the restaurant at fairs and festivals this summer. Moran said the fire truck they had converted into a catering vehicle is in the process of getting final inspections.

NH365.Org Event Of The Week

UNH Manchester’s Ultimate Frisbee Club is hosting a day-long Frisbee tournament at Rock Rimmon Field Sunday. The “Frisbee for Science” tournament, which raises money for the Manchester High School Central Science Department, is open to all players of all abilities and experience. At sign-up, players rate their skill level and are placed on teams accordingly.

Organizer Derek Burkhadt has a few great reasons for choosing the Central High School Science Department as recipient of the registration fees. He’s a 2004 Central alum. He’s also a biology major, graduating at the end of the summer, and pursuing a career in science education.

“I knew that UNH was committed to doubling the (number) of STEM graduates by 2025. Because I was running an event for a sport I love, for a cause I’m passionate about, and with funding from our sponsor who I knew would be eager to support me, helping Central’s Science Department was the easy choice,” Burkhardt wrote to The Scene.Burkhardt said UNH is covering a majority of the costs, including custom made discs for each participant, athletic wear for the winning teams, trophies, water bottles, and snacks.

The tournament runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the cost to play is $20, or $10 for high school students.

A link to online registration can be found at

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