The is accustomed to playing at many special events, but over the weekend they got to be part of an elaborate plan for a marriage proposal in Manhattan.
The award-winning band went to New York City's Bryant Park on Saturday for a surprise proposal being made by Craig Jones, a senior associate of PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Jones heard about the band, with its unique uniforms, from a co-worker and contacted band director about helping with the surprise.
No problem. The band was in on the plot. Vitti even got Jones a drum major's uniform so he could blend in with the band and Vitti came up with an arrangement of "Hey Baby" at Jones' request.
Vitti said he invited the marching band's seniors to part in the surprise, and about 95 percent of them joined in. A donation by Jones to the band covered expenes for the trip to Manhattan, where Jones had to handle a variety of arrangements to make the staged surprise possible.
The bride-to-be was brought to the park by her sister under the pretense that they were going to meet Jones for lunch. The surprise kicked off with the NY Steppers coming in for what looks like a flash mob, then the Port Chester band made its way into the park.
Jones, dressed in a band uniform, was hidden by the band until they formed up in front of the bride-to-be from Providence, RI, and he came out from the formation.
Vitti said it was his idea to put Jones in uniform to make the surprise even more effective. Jones got into role - using the band major's baton to signal the band to play.
The Bryant Park location, however, was not the original plan. Vitti said Jones wanted to stage the surprise at Grand Central Station in Manhattan, but the arrangements did not come together.
Vitti said the surprise engagement is one of many special requests he receives from people who know about the band and want them to perform at events such as large birthday parties, New Year's Eve celebrations and other private events. The band has performed at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and even performed inside Macy's flagship store in Manhattan. The band has played in the halftime ceremonies of the Orange Bowl and in 2005 went to Bermuda to help in the 500th anniversary celebration of the island's discovery.
"We get so many requests I think people forget these are students," Vitti said.
As for the engagement surprise: It worked. She said "yes."