May 26, 2015

Hartnett band marches for last time


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
The Hartnett Elementary School Marching Band, under the direction of Jonathan Fleischman, at left, performs for the final time, marching in Truxton’s Memorial Day parade on Monday.

Staff Reporter

TRUXTON — About 300 community members cheered on the Hartnett Elementary School Band as it played “Heroes and Glory” during the Truxton’s Memorial Day Parade Monday morning, also bidding farewell to the school, which is expected to close for good in June.
Korinne L’Hommedieu, who has been involved with the parade for the last 10 years, said Thursday she expected the parade to be a sad day for the Truxton community since it has been an annual tradition in Truxton for over 50 years.
“I know without the school band there, there will be a huge disappointment in the community,” she said. “It will be our hope that we can continue to pull together a band to march in the parade, for the community at least.”
L’Hommedieu, a Truxton native, said the band was started in the 1970s by longtime music and physical education teacher Andy Tei, who wanted to have a band because Homer Central School could not come to Truxton each year for the Memorial Day Parade.
She added that when Tei was the band director, there were about 30 fifth- and sixth-grade students in the band.
Jonathan Fleischman, a music major at Ithaca College, led about 12 students wearing navy pants and patriotic T-shirts, playing “America the Beautiful,” a tribute to the men and women who died serving their country.
Jeanetta Laudermilk, a Truxton resident, said Thursday that even though it is a sad day for Hartnett Elementary Elementary School, there is still hope for the future students.
“It may be the last time for the Hartnett Elementary kids, but it will be a good time for the community to get together,” said Laudermilk, whose son, Matthew, is in the first grade.
Sponsored by the Kingsley-Turner American Legion of Truxton, the parade started at 10 a.m. Monday with a ceremony at the Truxton Cemetery, including patriotic speeches by Hartnett sixth-graders and awards recognizing those in the Truxton Community.
Three longtime members of the Kingsley-Turner American Legion of Truxton were honored for their commitment to the community, including Richard Brown, a 60-year member; Kenneth Atkinson, a 63-year member, and Dick Henry, a 70-year member.
The Community Spirit award, which recognizes a person’s contributions to the community, was given to Frank O’Donnell. O’Donnell was recognized for his volunteering to trade out about 20 decorative banners twice a year throughout the town.
Town Supervisor Gus Wehbe said this morning that having the Hartnett Elementary School Band march for the last time in the parade was sad for the community, but it will continue to fight to keep an important piece of Truxton alive.
“Aside from the Hartnett (Elementary School) issue, it’s always nice to see everyone come out and enjoy the parade,” Wehbe said.
Wehbe added this morning he hopes the parade will show how important the school is to the community and encourage the Homer school board to support creating a charter school in its place.
The Homer School board is moving forward with closing Hartnett Elementary School after voters on Dec. 16 struck down a proposition to borrow $5.8 million to renovate the building to lease it for a BOCES/New Tech school.
The board voted in March to authorize Superintendent of Schools Nancy Ruscio to hire Philip Martin of Castallo & Silky, a Syracuse-based consulting firm, for up to $9,500 to study closing the school. This consultant studied the future of the school in 2009, finding at that time that it should remain open.

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