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Baldwin adds splash of purple to NYC parade

| Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 9:03 p.m.
Cymbal players and their Baldwin band brethren make their way through the streets of New York during Monday's parade, which featured bands, bagpipers and of Irish dancers but no floats.
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The Baldwin Highlander Marching Band in the New York City St. Patrick's Day parade, which featured more than 150,000 marchers along the route. The parade started at 5th Avenue at 44th Street, and made its way down 5th Avenue to 79th Street.
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Part of the Baldwin band travel party poses in Central Park during free time prior to the St. Patrick's Day parade.

A splash of purple proceeded through the green-infused streets of New York City on Monday, when the Baldwin Highlander Marching Band performed during one of the world's largest St. Patrick's Day parades.

More than 100 members of Baldwin High School's Highlander band marched in the parade along Fifth Avenue, from 44th Street to 86th Street.

As the band prepared for the trip, band director Greg Steele said, “It should be an awesome experience for our kids — a once-in-a-lifetime experience, to be able to march down the streets of New York, past Central Park.”

Crowds of more than 250,000 to lined the parade route to watch the 150,000 participants, who included performers and athletic teams from Ireland and Spain.

High school bands included Montour and others traveling from as far as Florida and Minnesota.

Luke Barone, 16, a Baldwin High School junior and a drum major in the Highlander Marching Band, said New York City is “big, exciting and fun.”

“I'm really excited,” Barone said. “I think it's a neat opportunity.”

This is not the first large performance for Baldwin's Highlander band, which played its rendition of “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” The band was in the 2006 Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City and the 2012 National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C.

Band members wore their purple uniforms because “we're there to represent Baldwin,” Steele said. “I'm sure there will be enough green around.”

He applied for the band to perform in conjunction with a trip the band intended to make so that students could attend the musicals “Newsies” and “Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway and visit the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the National Sept. 11 Memorial.

“We try to make our trips be an educational experience, as well as have a unique performing opportunity,” Steele said.

The band, which traveled to New York City along with the Baldwin High School drama club, rode a bus to New York on Friday night and returned to Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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