Marching to drumbeat for public ed

Standing erect and holding the banner of the Cohoes Tigers marching band, sixth-grade student Nick Brazzell proudly wore his blue-and-yellow honor guard uniform. He said he’s always wanted to be in marching band, and his band mates came to the rally to protest budget cuts. The band is down to one teacher directing the group – there used to be five other band instructors helping out part-time. The district has also lost music instructors and a feeder program for the band.

Bam! Bam! The drum players hit their sticks hard on the drums, sending vibrations along the street and revving up the crowd as they begin to gather here at the rally.

Marching in place on the sidewalk on Swan Street to warm up before heading to the Empire State Plaza for the “One Voice United” rally, Cohoes senior Alysha Gagnon has been in band all,four years. Her sister, Trisha, holding a shiny trombone toward the rear of the formation, is a sophomore in the marching band. Their mother, Pat Gagnon, stood alongside the band and said she came, not only to support them, but to march at the rally with her colleagues from Guilderland Central Teachers Association, the local union  she belongs to as a Guilderland teacher.

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