Albany Falcons heading to France for D-Day performance

May 27, 2019 07:22 PM

ALBANY - The Albany Falcons Marching Band is flying to France this week. They're one of a few bands playing in Normandy on the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

The Falcons were invited after a scout saw them perform in the Dublin St. Patrick's Day Parade four years ago.


"It's going to be a once in a lifetime experience," sophomore Sarah Bearden said.

About 50 members of the Albany Falcons will perform in a parade on Omaha Beach on June 6.

Last week, the Falcons met a World War II veteran who stormed the shores of Omaha Beach in the second wave of attacks on D-Day.

Senior Emma Russell said meeting a veteran who fought on the same shores they'll be performing on gives their songs more meaning.

"When we play them, especially one of them, 'Hymn to the Fallen' and each time you tell their stories, they're really moving. You can almost feel like you're there playing," Russell said. "When we are there playing, I hope it'll be that much more special."

Senior Jennifer Uzhca traveled to Ireland and is set to go to France with the Falcons as well. She said she's looking forward to ending her marching band career on a prestigious note.

"Going on this trip is, it just feels like I'm coming full circle, from shaking hands to honoring Albany and New York state in France and honoring those who fell on those beaches," Uzhca said.

Falcons Director Bryan Cady said though they've been practicing more to prepare for their France performances, music is not their only focus.

"We're teaching them to try to be better people, better citizens and give back to the communities with their talents," Cady said.

Cady said the students raised about $35,000 to help cover the cost of the trip. They will be performing in Paris and other parts of Northern France during their week stay.


Emily Burkhard

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