Making their second appearance at the Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Banda de Gaites Corvera d’Asturies will once again bang their drums and blow their pipes down Broadway on Saturday, March 16.
This multi-award-winning Spanish troupe usually marches down a more famous Broadway, the one that goes through the heart of Manhattan, said Newport parade chairman Dennis Sullivan.
“They were here once five years ago,” Sullivan told Newport This Week. “It’s unique to have them here … The only chance you will get to see them this year is in Newport and Boston.”
The band is to Newport’s March soiree as the Mummers are to Bristol’s Fourth of July Parade.
“They aren’t cheap,” said Sullivan. “It’s the most we’ve ever spent on a band. We couldn’t afford them again right away [after their appearance in 2014] until now.”
Those wishing to make a donation to the parade committee in order to help with funding for the band or the parade costs in general should contact Dennis Sullivan at 401-846-5081, email@example.com or mail their contribution to Parade Committee, P.O. Box 1404, Newport.
Founded by director Bras Rodrigo in 1998, the band has won multiple national and international awards, including being named three times as the Best Foreign Bagpipe Band in the annual New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
The band draws from local tradition and history to perform a modern show adapted to the current music and top student performance standards of the bagpipe corps.
From a musical point of view, the band is innovative in its formations, completely renovating traditional musical arrangements in the world of bagpipes. It’s all due to the instruments used by the group being tuned in the key of B flat with a drone and two mini-drones, specially prepared for the group, and top percussion with snares, tenor drums and bass drum.
Their gala costumes, where velvet and cloth dominate, are exact replicas of those worn in the 17th and 18th centuries by the wealthiest Asturians of the time.
Sullivan said he was glad to welcome the band back.
“The last time they were here was a very quick turnaround for them, just three days,” he said. “They didn’t do many things. They loved the town… This time, we can show them a few of our very own events.”