April 17, 2011

Division Avenue High School band members nearly froze while marching in the 1961 St. Patrick's Day Parade in Manhattan

Click on photo to enlarge

On a bitterly cold day in 1961, the Division Avenue senior marching band appeared in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Manhattan. Recently, Marilyn Monsrud '63 posted the above photo from the 1961 yearbook on Facebook. The comments that followed tell the story.

Linc Binninger '63
Very cool (literally). I remember that my trombone mouthpiece froze to my lips and had to be painfully removed.

Marilyn Monsrud Frese
Do you remember how cold it was, waiting for the parade to start, huddled on one of the side streets with that awful freezing cold wind blowing through it like a hurricane! And no sun...just dark and cold. I remember the sound of the wind- ...it was howling down that narrow street. I had never heard anything like that before. We huddled together to try to keep a little warmer. And wearing skirts sure didn't help. I don't know how you guys ever managed to defrost your lips to get any sound out of your horns. That bus, waiting for us at the parade finish point, never looked so good.

Linc Binninger
Oh, I'll never forget. In 15 years in Syracuse and six in Vermont, I was never as cold as I was that day. Sure am glad I didn't have to wear a skirt, too.

Frank Barning '60
What were some of the songs you played?

Linc Binninger
We must have played some Irish songs. We probably played the Colonel Bogey March, too, which we seemed to always play, as I believe it was one of Band Director Mr. East's favorites.

Carol Binninger Mondello '64
To this day...every single St. Patrick's Day...I reflect on that day... I still have a discoloration on my bottom lip from where my saxophone reed froze and stuck...we wore thin blazers and gray pleated skirts...Marilyn...how did we ever play? We were all frozen...but so proud to be chosen to be there!

Linc Binninger
Apparently it was Mr. Reilly's being a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians that got us there, no?

Kathy Stahlman Zinn '63
That was my understanding. I think we missed getting on the TV due to ads. When I got home, my mother was still watching the parade, and wondering whether we had actually been there. She never saw us. What classical pieces do people remember our playing in concert band? Rhapsody in Blue?

Linc Binninger
I'm sticking with Colonel Bogey March. It was, after all, a "classic" march.

Frank Barning
What, no Seventy-Six Trombones by Meredith Willson?

Linc Binninger
Actually, I think we did, and the trombone section, of course, played all the solos.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your brother played the trombone and your sister player the sax. Were you not as musically talented?