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  • Staff photo by Bob Hammerstrom

    Guy Griffey, left, and Lou Campedelli have been playing in drum and bugle corps since their teenage days. "With these older groups, there's not much moving around," said 61-year-old Campedelli. "We prefer to park and blow," he said.




  • Staff photo by Bob Hammerstrom

    Lou Campedelli, left, and Guy Griffey will both be playing contrabass during the opening ceremonies of the upcoming Winter Classic Bruins game New Years Day at Fenway Park. Griffey plays for the Boston Crusaders Senior Drum & Bugle Corps. And, Campedelli plays with the Saint Kevin Emerald Knights Senior Drum and Bugle Corps. from Randolph, Mass.
Thursday, December 31, 2009

Buglers on ice

NASHUA – Performing at historic Fenway Park is nothing new for Lou Campedelli.

The 61-year-old Campedelli played at the Boston baseball stadium in 1967 and again 1976, both times as a member of a drum and bugle corps.

More than 30 years later, Campedelli will be back on the field again, although this time the setting – and the weather – will be drastically different.

Campedelli and Guy Griffey, both of Nashua, will be part of a 140-member group that will perform in pregame ceremonies at the New Year’s Day NHL Winter Classic.

The event, with two hockey teams playing outdoors in the elements, has become a popular tradition for the league. The game between the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers will be the first NHL game played at Fenway.

“To me, it’s a very unique event to play at,” Campedelli said. “It’s great for the league.”

Though this will be Griffey’s first time playing at Fenway, he’s been part of Bruins history before. Griffey marched in the 1972 parade celebrating the Bruins Stanley Cup Championship.

“Back then, you ate, drank and slept Bruins,” said Griffey, whose day job is working at BAE Systems.

Campedelli and Griffey both play the contrabass, the lowest-pitched instrument in a drum and bugle corps. Campedelli performs with the St. Kevin Emerald Knights Senior Drum & Bugle Corps. Griffey is part of the Boston Crusaders Senior Drum & Bugle Corps.

For both, their involvement with drum and bugle corps dates back to the ’60s.

“There’s a great sense of camaraderie,” Campedelli said.

On Friday, their two respective corps will join together to perform prior to the game.

“To be able to be there for the Classic, I think it’s a great honor,” Griffey said.

They had a practice Monday at a convention center in Boston. Wednesday night, they were scheduled to rehearse on the Fenway field.

On Friday, just prior to the game, they will perform a piece called “Prelude to Champions,” which Campedelli said was developed by the NHL and is an interpretation of the Dropkick Murphys hit, “I’m Shipping Up To Boston.”

Their performance will transition directly into a live set by the Boston-based punk band.

Campedelli, who works as an architectural engineer, said the NHL has tried to make the pregame ceremony a celebration of the history of Boston.

The pair learned around Thanksgiving they would be performing at the Winter Classic. While it’s unusual to have a hockey game at Fenway these days, Griffey said he remembers when it was used for other sports.

“I remember going there in the ’60s to see the Patriots play,” he said.

They won’t be able to stick around and watch the game. Griffey said they would be going back to the staging area at Fenway High School, where there will be refreshments and TVs to watch the game.

They’re not sure whether their performance will be part of the broadcast. The game is being nationally televised on NBC.

When asked about the acoustics of Fenway Park, Campdelli said, “Terrible,” chuckling. “The sound bounces all over the place, especially off the Wall.”

Fortunately, Campedelli said he expects they will be playing with their backs to the Green Monster this time.

Weather could also be an issue, with a mix of snow and rain in the forecast.

Griffey said if it gets too cold, the valves on his instrument tend to freeze. But he’ll be prepared.

“I’ll be making sure to bring some windshield de-icer,” he said, laughing.

Michael Brindley can be reached at 594-6426 or mbrindley@nashuatelegraph.com.