SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The Hoosick Falls Central School Jazz Band is packing up its instruments to head to the New York State Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 27, for parade and concert performances.

Several members of the community and band parents are filling a coach bus with the 30 members of the jazz band to head to Syracuse for a full day. The followers will wear uniform shirts to support the band during one of the more than 20 performance dates the band has a year.

In past years, the jazz band went to state fair to participate in the parade. This year, the students will be performing in two concerts and the parade. The band had another performance over the summer at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, New York.

HFCS band director Bill Brown said his students have been excited to be more active over the summer. "They love it," Brown said. "It gives them good reason to keep practicing over summer, so they are still going strong once school starts."

The high school jazz band consists mostly of kids who are playing secondary instruments, other than what they would usually play in a symphonic band. Brown said that as much practice and exposure as possible is required in order to be proficient because the jazz band is extracurricular.

"Kids study when they have a test coming up," Brown said. "So, we have a lot of concerts so that kids will practice as much as possible."

The jazz band will be playing at 2 p.m.


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that Wednesday in the Empire Theater at the Art and Home Center on fair grounds. The parade starts at 6 p.m. The bus is full, but for those interested in following along, contact band parent volunteer Joyce Brewer, who organizes and coordinates the jazz band's activities. Her email is tjbrewer4942@gmail.com.

Brewer is involved with several activities within the performing arts department at HFCS, and has been since 2010. With her second daughter, Anna Brewer, going through high school, Joyce Brewer said she had witnessed several kids evolve as individuals through the program.

"Having so many performance opportunities improves these kids' abilities to speak out in public and open up to new people and new experiences," Joyce Brewer said. "Between when they start (and when they graduate), they develop more confidence in themselves."

For a full list of events on the Empire Theater Stage at the state fair, visit http://www.nysfair.org/concerts/empire-theater-stage/. Contact Brewer for information regarding future performances.

Contact Tom Momberg at tmomberg@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg