SHAFTSBURY -- The Shaftsbury Elementary School band will play "The Star-Spangled Banner" and the chorus will sing "God Bless America" at Saturday's Albany Devils game.
About 50 children between the two groups, both under the direction of Sue Green, will travel to Albany for the game, which begins at 5 p.m. The chorus contains students in grades two through six, and the band contains students in grades three through six.
Green said that her band and chorus had performed in the past at Albany River Rats games. However, when the River Rats moved to Charlotte in 2010, Green was not approached by the new ownership. Recently, however, Career Development Center teacher Billy Obenauer, who has a child who attends Shaftsbury, put the two groups in touch.
According to Green, several high schoolers have already sung the national anthem at games this year.
Both the band and the chorus practice two days a week, during recess, said Green, who noted that there were four students who participated in both groups.
"It takes dedication," said Green, who did say that she rewards the students with a pizza party at the end of the year. The groups perform between seven and nine concerts a year. Their next concert, which students have already begun practicing for, will be the Spring Concert on May 5, the theme of which will be old-time rock ‘n' roll.
Green said a lot of hard work went into learning the national anthem for the band, which had to completely memorize the music. She said all of the students take lessons on their instruments outside of school as well.
Speaking to the importance of getting children started with music, whether instrumental or choral, at an early age, Green, who also plays trumpet in the Sage City Orchestra, said, "I think it's great, because its something you can take with you your entire life. Nobody has to take a back seat in music."
The Albany Devils, American Hockey League affiliate of the New Jersey Devils, moved to Albany from Lowell, Mass., after the River Rats departed in 2010. They play their home games at the Times Union Center.
Tickets for the game can be purchased online or by calling 1-518-4DEVILS. Green urged those who wish to have the best view of the band and chorus performances to inform the ticket officials over the phone, in order to be placed in the ideal section.
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB