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Alumni in step at Amsterdam homecoming

Every four years, a special halftime show

Saturday, October 19, 2013
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Some of the 300 Amsterdam High School Alumni, perform a kick line during a halftime celebration at the Amsterdam-South Glens Falls football game Saturday.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber
Some of the 300 Amsterdam High School Alumni, perform a kick line during a halftime celebration at the Amsterdam-South Glens Falls football game Saturday.

— Enzo Belli can still a spin a baton with the best of them.

And while his college doesn’t have a marching band, the 2011 Amsterdam High School graduate has his own apartment and plenty of space to practice the craft he learned as a member of the Amsterdam Marching Rams.

On Saturday afternoon, as the Amsterdam High School football team won its homecoming game in commanding fashion, Belli was passing along twirling tips to a young field commander, who looked at the ease at which Belli manipulated the baton with awe.

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The 20-year-old was one of more than 100 alumni of the Marching Rams to return Saturday for a rare performance with current members.

Alumni who took the field during halftime ranged from recent graduates like Belli to Ginny Agresta and Mary Tambasco, majorettes who graduated in 1957.

“It’s great to be back,” said Tambasco, who lives in the area and still attends games but felt this was different. “This is the best because all the alumni are here.”

The reunion is a rare occurrence, happening only every four years.

The halftime show began with the current Marching Rams taking the field in their purple and white uniforms. After performing Metallica’s “Master of Puppets,” the alumni, dressed in black shirts, joined them to play “We are Young” by Fun.

Pat Valiante, a 1973 graduate, said it was an appropriate song to perform, because all the alumni were transported back in time.

“It brought back such wonderful memories of people and places,” she said.

There were a few mistakes, she acknowledged, but it made no difference.

“We were just so happy to be out there,” Valiante said.

The line of recent alumni majorettes who donned the classic white high boots again, didn’t appear to miss a beat, as they were high-kicking with the best of the current majorettes.

Valiante, who is now the high school’s choral director, used her experience as the majorettes’ adviser during the 1980s and 1990s to give a crash course for some of the alumni Saturday morning.

“It was so wonderful,” she said. “The women laughed when they couldn’t get a step, and they practiced so they could do a nice job.”

After the performances, the alumni seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief, sharing laughs over missed notes and generally marveling at how well it all came together.

For a young alumnus like Belli, he said the day was also a chance to reconnect with older alumni he looked up to.

“I can’t even describe it with words,” he said.

 
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