When the Macy’s Great American Marching Band takes to the streets of New York City for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, at least some of the sweet music that America will be listening to will have originated right here in Clay County, because Flora High School Junior Al Stewart has been invited to play with them.
Beginning in Fourth grade, Stewart has been playing music across a range of instruments, from horns like the mellophone, the baritone, trombone, french horn, and trumpet; to winds like the sax, bassoon, to percussion instruments and drums.
“He’s wanting to go on and be a band director,” said the musician’s mother, Cheri Stewart.
As far as what he listens to, Stewart says he likes just about anything. When playing, his favorite thing to do is perform with the marching band.
“I love marching band,” Stewart said, “I like the feel of being out in front of people, performing. I think it’s kind of...a way to show off.”
Stewart said that a lot of his progress as a musician has been on his own, playing, practicing and experimenting. He’s been assisted in this by his teachers though, in particular, Flora High School Band Director Sarah Hudson.
“Mrs. Hudson has been a great help said” Cheri Stewart. “When he started this drumline last year, she said ‘If you want to do it, start it up, I’ll support you 100-percent.’ So Mrs. Hudson has been really good for him.”
Stewart, will play the mellophone (a sort of marching version of the french horn) in N.Y.C., still needs help from the community in order to get out to the parade though. To play and stay in New York, he requires $1,469 for the hotel, food, transportation and tourist attractions, about $300 for airfare, and a little extra for spending money. He may also have to purchase a mellophone to play, but Cheri and Al say they are looking for a rental.
So far, they have paid about $250 for a deposit, plus $304.75 out of the $1,469 (They have a payment plan with three payments remaining), but he will need to pay the rest before October, when he will first get the music to start rehearsing.
Donations for Stewart can be made to Macy’s Band Fund, Flora Banking Company, 207 Gary Hagen Drive, Flora, IL 62839.
There will be a porkburger and hotdog sale this Saturday at Flora IGA from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. They will be taking orders there for pork loins and ribs from Mike’s Market then, and again at Flora Wal-Mart on August 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ribs and loins will be delivered at Flora Wal-Mart on September 15.
Finally, Stewart is raffling off a Kindle Fire. Tickets can be purchased from Stewart, or from his parents, Al and Cheri. They can be reached at (618) 508-3838.
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