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The "Other" Memorial Day Parade
East Orange, NJ

05/31/10

If you don't understand why this page is called the "other" Memorial Day Parade, visit the "real" Memorial Day Parade page HERE.


Photo by Al-Quadir Marsh

The East Orange Memorial Day Parade isn't all about East Orange. Coming together to celebrate with East Orange is the Nepperhan Community Center's Music On the Move Percussion Band, from Yonkers, NY, shown above getting ready at the staging area on South Arlington Avenue near Elmwood Park. There are many bands and community groups here today, lining up at the starting position since 8:00 AM this morning.


Photo by Elijah Goode

However, the main focus of our story is The East Orange Unified Marching Band. At 8:00 AM, they are still back at Cicely Tyson School getting in some last minute instruction from Mr. Franklin and Mr. Sheppard.

Then the band, followed by volunteers from the Band Parent Association (wearing red) walk from Cicely Tyson School across town to the staging area near Elmwood Park. This will be the last parade of the school year for our band, because there are no funds for bus transportation to the other June parades that had been planned. For the rest of the summer, they will fend for themselves depending on volunteer support from among their parents, alumni, and friends of the band.


Photo by Al-Quadir Marsh

At the staging area, the band members form up again under the leadership of Director Frederick Goode. The band members wearing red plumes on their caps are section leaders, many of them seniors, for whom this will be the last Memorial Day Parade of their high school years in East Orange.


Photo by Al-Quadir Marsh

At last the parade begins. The drummers will keep the cadence from beginning to the end. They are among the hardest workers in the band since the beat never lets up until the parade is all over. Behind the drummers are the flag twirlers, equally hard working, but silent members of the band. Their contribution is purely visual.


Photo by Al-Quadir Marsh

Trailing along behind the band is another important support group made up of the younger brothers and sisters and parents of band members. The children are doing cartwheels and cheering for their band. The banner at the back of the parade is the Cicely Tyson Community School Eagle banner, showing the main base for the Unified Marching Band.


Photo by Al-Quadir Marsh

The band marches down Central Avenue, then crosses over to march back up Main Street to City Hall Plaza. It is a hot, sunny day, 92 F in the shade and even more in the hot sun. The band parents pass out chilled bottles of water at times like this, when the parade is pausing.


Photo by Elijah Goode

The end of the parade is now in sight. The band takes one last pause as they wait to be announced by the M.C. in front of city hall. What happens next is best seen in the video below.

The East Orange Unified Marching Band in Performance

Also available on YouTube


Photo by Elijah Goode

After the parade, before the band gets away and begins shedding their uniforms to cool off and relax, the band staff tries to get them to pose for a final band photo to end the school year. It's a lot like herding cats, but eventually they all get into position and smile for the camera... well most of them do, anyway.

This full band portrait of the East Orange Unified Marching Band was taken at the end of the Memorial Day Parade. We hope the band will get some rest now, and count this day among their happy memories of high school in East Orange, when they were young and full of energy.

EVEN MORE PHOTOS of the Memorial Day Parade

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