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Marching Nighthawks Heading To DC For Memorial Day Parade



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The Newtown Marching Band & Guard will participate in the Washington, D.C., National Memorial Day Parade, as approved by the Board of Education on September 21, assuming the trip is not canceled due to the pandemic.

NHS Principal Dr Kimberly Longobucco and Newtown Public Schools Director of Visual and Performing Arts Michelle Hiscavich presented the trip to the school board for approval at its meeting on September 21.

According to Longobucco, the marching band was invited to participate in the National Memorial Day Parade this past March after 5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes nominated the group to participate. Five marching bands from Connecticut were nominated to participate.

“It had been canceled in both 2020 and 2021, and so they went back and kind of reviewed their nominations and re-sent out [those] to a variety of schools,” said Longobucco.

Over the timeline of the NHS Marching Band & Guard being invited to participate in the national parade, longtime NHS Band Director Kurt Eackhardt retired and new Band Director Aaron Ovsiew was hired.

“We ended up with [Ovsiew], who we are thrilled with, and he said of course we will take on that challenge,” Longobucco continued, adding it has been years since the high school band has participated in “many” parades.

Longobucco also suspects the high school has never participated in the National Memorial Day Parade before and she said it is an honor for the group to be invited.

The presentation to the school board included details — such as cost estimates and a planned itinerary — supplied by Music Celebrations International, a tour organization that has been used by the school district before.

Longobucco said important highlights include that if the parade is canceled the high school would advocate for a full refund and the premium insurance option includes a “cancelation for any reason” and “quarantine coverage” to support costs associated with having to quarantine travelers while traveling.

“They have been very thoughtful in their process for planning for trips,” Longobucco said, adding that safety is the “highest priority.”

Along with participating in the parade, the trip to Washington, would also include a potential visit with Congresswoman Hayes. According to the itinerary, the trip would impact one school day for the roughly 50 students expected to attend.

“We are very excited for this opportunity, and this would be their one trip of the year,” said Longobucco.

After discussion by school board members, the trip was approved unanimously.

Education Reporter Eliza Hallabeck can be reached at eliza@thebee.com.

The Newtown High School Marching Band & Guard participates in the 2018 Newtown Labor Day Parade.—Bee file photo
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