The members of the Havre de Grace High School marching band have performed at high-profile events in prior years, but they performed on what their director called "the biggest stage we've ever been on" Monday when they took part in the Veterans Day parade in New York City.
"We knew this was the biggest stage we've ever been on," said Richard Hauf, who is in his 21st year of directing the Warrior Pride band. "This was New York City, Fifth Avenue, and they worked and worked to guarantee this would be out best performance ever, and it was."
The parade, called America's Parade, was put on the by United War Veterans Council, according to the parade website.
On Tuesday, the day after he and the band returned to Harford County, Hauf said 87 members of the band, which consists of nearly 120 students, or about 20 percent of the nearly 600-strong HHS student body, participated in the parade.
The traveling party of 110 people, which included parents of the student band members, traveled to New York Sunday.
On Sunday they performed in Times Square, took in a Broadway show and were treated to a dinner cruise around Manhattan.
The parade began shortly after 11 a.m. Monday
The Havre de Grace students were part of a "mass band," with bands from schools in New Orleans, Illinois and Kansas, Hauf said.
He said the band had auditioned in 2012 to take part in the parade and was invited to take part in the parade that year.
"We couldn't do it that soon, so we were excited to go this year," Hauf explained.
The Warrior Pride students had performed during the Cherry Blossom festival in Washington D.C. during the spring of 2013, and has also performed at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World in Florida.
The Warriors were on an even larger stage for Veterans Day, however – Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
"It was really an unbelievable parade route," said Hauf, who walked with the students as they were led by drum majors.
He noted many of the spectators were veterans, and the band marched behind a float with World War II veterans, who he called "living heroes."
"So it was extra special, knowing that's who we were performing for," Hauf said of the veterans.
Each student also marched in honor of a veteran in their lives, such as a family members. They had to complete a research paper on the veteran.
"They all had a veteran in mind as they were marching down that they were honoring," Hauf said.