Marine Band to perform at Mardi Gras - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Marine Band to perform at Mardi Gras

January 25, 2005

Albany-- The Big Easy will be a tough job for the band, but like the Boy Scouts, they're prepared. The Albany Marine Band marches three miles to get in condition. In New Orleans, the band will perform in nine parades and one ball.

That's 45 miles of marching in 12 days.

Sgt. Shannon Van Pelt said "Each parade we are doing is five to six miles long, and each parade lasts five to six hours. Of that six hours, about three of it is playing, so it's quite a haul."

Lance Corporal Christopher Barger's bass drum weighs nearly 30 pounds. "The longer you go, you get pains. But there will be so many people on the streets and the fans, the motivation will be so high that the pain will just be gone."

One parade will be more than eight miles, lasting more than six hours.

Staff Sergeant Daette Mathis says they are ready. "We are used to marching a lot. Not necessarily five or six miles at a time, but we are used to marching a lot. That's what we are trained to do."

Drum Major Sergeant Shannon Van Pelt and the band have been doing this extra conditioning work so they will be at their best. "Just the other day we went on a six and a half mile run to prepare for Mardi Gras."

Even the Albany Marine Band thinks 45 miles of parades is a workout. But they have prepared, and are eager to show their talent at Mardi Gras. The baton that Sergeant Van Pelt uses weighs nearly eight pounds.

posted at 5:40PM by dave.miller@walb.com