The Gift of Music


Photo credits by Mrs. Vazquez

Errol Lucas, Reporter

The marching band have been performing for football games, assemblies, and even went to Cedar Point as they do every year. But what else does marching band have to offer when it comes to giving back to the community?

Recently, after the Franklin Park Fall Fest Parade, all of Leyden’s 225 members of marching band helped out fellow member, Robert Doody and band instructors, Mr. Miller and Ms. Vazquez, by hopping on a bus to Robert’s house and performing the halftime music from marching band’s 2015 show in front of Robert’s father who wasn’t able to come to any of the home football games to watch Robert perform.

Robert’s father is going through stage 4 brain cancer; he was diagnosed back in January of 2013, and currently is confined to a wheelchair.

The last time my dad saw us perform was the 4th of July parade in Hinsdale this year, but he hasn’t been to a football game since 2013,” Robert explained.

Band director, Ms. Vazquez, discussed how marching band runs through the Doody family and why it was so important to let Mr. Doody hear that music again.

“Earlier in the week, one of our band parents reached out to to us explaining that the Doody family was going through a rough time and was wondering if there would be something we could do to lift their spirits since band has been a highlight of all three of their children’s high school career,” Ms. Vazquez explained.

A few days later, 225 students unloaded from the bus onto the Doody’s front lawn for a performance to remember.

“I think the overall reaction was very heart-warming. Our students truly have a gift of being able to touch people’s lives through music.  I think everyone involved – the band, teachers, staff, parents, bus drivers, and even the neighbors who heard the music and came out to witness the performance – were very moved by the fact that such young students were making that kind of an impact,” Ms. Vazquez said.

Robert’s dad was impressed. “My dad is rarely able to talk or express emotions now because of his condition, but during the performance he started crying. After the performance, I went up to him and asked him if he liked it, and he was able to muster out a weak ‘Yes,’” Robert expressed.

These students will continue giving back to the community on November 10 with their Veteran’s Day Ceremony at 7:00pm in the East Leyden Auditorium. It will honor the town’s veterans and first responders. The day after Veterans Day, marching band will be performing a shortened version of the ceremony for both East and West Leyden to celebrate veterans with the entire student body.