Brooklyn students to give Pope Francis musical welcome to NYC

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When Pope Francis arrived on the tarmac of Joint Base Andrews in Washington, D.C., a local high school band played him in to Pharell’s “Happy.”

Here in New York City, staying true to the pope’s message, Xaverian High School in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, will be welcoming the pontiff on the tarmac of John F. Kennedy Airport.

Forty-four students have been hard at work since they received the call from the Vatican on Labor Day that they would be honored with this experience — or, shall we say, the biggest performance of their lives.

“We are excited. We’re humbled, honored that we are invited to do this,” band director Joe Loposky said.

When the plane lands on the tarmac and the doors open, Pope Francis will be greeted by “New York, New York,” a song the students have been practicing morning, noon and night.

“This is the biggest performance I have ever done,” Luke Loposky said.

“It’s quite simply just an honor, especially since I’m such a young musician,” Tim Gangemi said.

For director Loposky , this is nothing new. He directed the jazz band when Pope Benedict landed at JFK in 2008.

“We are representing New York, and it’s just a huge honor for us,” Loposky said.

So many of the students wear their Xaverian uniform proud. For Tom MacDonald, his parents and community couldn’t be prouder.

“I live in Rockaway,” MacDonald said. ” A small kid from Rockaway getting to play for the pope is a huge deal. They respect it a lot.”

A big hats off and congratulations to the Xaverian Jazz Band.

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