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  • Staff photo by Bob Hammerstrom

    Governor John Lynch dances with State Senator Sharon Carson of Londonderry during a "send-off concert" for the Jazz Band Thursday, February 23, 2012, at Alvirne High School in Hudson. The band will be traveling to Germany on an exchange program.

  • Staff photo by Bob Hammerstrom

    The Alvirne High School Jazz band is headed to Germany to perform for high schools in Munich and Augsburg, as well as the University of Salzburg.
Friday, February 24, 2012

Alvirne band says Auf Wiedersehen before leaving for Germany

HUDSON – While most people were still finishing their coffee and corn flakes Thursday morning, Gov. John Lynch was dancing a mean polka at Alvirne High School.

Lynch’s happy feet were moving to the “European Café Polka” performed by the 23-piece Alvirne High School Jazz Band which hosted a send-off concert hours before they left for a tour of Germany and Austria.

“I’m here because I love jazz and they invited me,” said Lynch before the concert began. “More importantly when these young men and women go over there, they don’t just represent Alvirne High School, but also New Hamsphire. And I wanted to be here in person to tell them how proud our state is of them. Hudson has an amazing music department. We need to recognize accomplishments in the arts as well as science and engineering as much we do athletics that are happening in our schools. Publically recognizing kids, inspires them to go the extra mile that they do.”

This is the fourth trip the jazz band has performed in Europe, said guidance counselor and trip organizer, Daniel Wells.

He said the school has an established exchange program with the Carl-Orff Gymnasium, a high school in Unterschleissheim, in Bavaria.

As part of their cultural experience, students will be staying with host families and visiting schools, castles and the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial about 10 miles outside of Munich. They are scheduled to return home March 4.

They also have a busy concert schedule which includes performances at four high schools in Germany as well as the University of Salzburg in Austria.

The play list for the touring group is heavy on jazz arrangements like “Little Brown Jug,” “Big Swing Face” and “Sing, Sing, Sing” with a sprinkling of America pop and rock, including “Car Wash,” and “Love Shack” and as an homage to their hosts – at least one polka.

“We will communicate in the language of music in a dialect which started right here in the United States – jazz,” said Gerry Bastien, the director of music for Alvirne and the Hudson School District. “These kids works so hard in this jazz band because they choose to, they want to and they love to play and live music.”

This is the first trip out of the country for senior Eric Mealey who plays tenor sax in the band.

Shortly after a smoking hot jazz improvisation, the Alvirne senior said, “I am so excited. I already know this is going to be a high point in my life. And I’m glad I’m going with the jazz band. I’ve been a part of this group for three years and it’s like a family.”

The Alvirne Bands have received a number of awards including first place superior ratings at music festivals in Canada, Maryland, New York and Virginia.

They played at Disneyworld in 2002, 2006 and 2010 and in addition to this trip, they will perform at the Rhythms International Festival in Quebec City, Canada.

Throughout the year, the band has had fund raisers including performances, car washes and lawn cleanups to raise money for their travels.

Stacy Milbouer can be reached at