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La Grange band plays anthem for Cougars game

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LAGRANGE PARK — Applause and cheers were music to the ears of 44 young band students from La Grange following their first stadium performance.

Fifth- and sixth-graders in La Grange Elementary District 102’s summer band program played “The Star Spangled Banner” July 30 at a Kane County Cougars game in Geneva.

“It was really fun,” said sixth-grader Tess Lewandowski of La Grange, who plays percussion. “The stadium was so big with a ton of people there. Everybody clapped, and I didn’t have time to get scared.”

As the only tenor saxophone player in the group, sixth-grader Tim Sands of LaGrange Park admitted to being more nervous, but was pleased with the performance.

“I think it went awesome,” Tim said.

Band teacher Nancy Flanagan said students rose to the challenge of learning their parts for the national anthem in just a day during the four-day camp at Park Junior High School. Half the group took up their instruments as fourth-graders only a year ago.

Flanagan made arrangements with the Cougars for the students to play, and about 180 musicians and family members attended the game.

“Summer band camp is new for this age group, and we were excited about being able to provide an opportunity to play during the summer, rather than dusting off the instruments in September,” Flanagan said.

Flanagan, band teacher Carolyn May and band director Jason Lyons worked with students on four other pieces during the week, interspersed with themes, raffles, games and snacks.

Wearing holiday attire for Christmas in August on the final day, the band presented a concert for parents.

“Revenge of the Dust Bunnies,” which could have been on the sound track to a wacky Disney movie, featured interesting percussive effects and May darting around with a vacuum cleaner attachment toward the end.

“Summer band is really fun because you get to do a whole bunch of fun songs, as well as songs that challenge us,” Tess said. “The teachers are awesome and the snacks are great.”

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