G-A group safe while in New York

PAT FRIDGEN

More than 100 Greencastle residents were in New York City over the weekend, but they were spared any disruptions to their activities when a car bomb was discovered in Times Square Saturday evening. Greencastle-Antrim High School band and chorus members were in the Big Apple April 30 to May 2 to attend the Heritage Music Festival and see the sights.

On Saturday, at approximately 6:30 p.m., a smoking SUV loaded with bomb materials was discovered on 45th Street. Police evacuated the area from 43rd to 48th streets, and from Sixth to Eighth avenues.

At the time, the 102 students and their 22 chaperones were on a harbor cruise which had boarded off 43rd Street.

"The situation didn't cause any problems for us, which is fortunate," said band director Sam Forney.

Choral director Martha Fuchs added, "We were actually on a dinner cruise around Manhattan at the time. We are grateful."

A day earlier and the story could have been different. Friday evening the crew attended the Broadway play 'Memphis' and visited Times Square.

The competition Saturday afternoon was held at Riverside Church on 120th Street. Sunday the Greencastle students took a walking tour of Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, Battery Park and Ground Zero. They arrived back home around midnight.

The car was found to contain three cannisters of propane, two five-gallon cans of gasoline, consumer-grade fireworks and two clocks with batteries. New York police said the device was in the process of detonating but malfunctioned. Investigators focused on leads to the identity of the suspect and his motive. By Monday night they had arrested a U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent from Connecticut.

Festival results

Both music directors were pleased with the results of the performances. The Concert Choir, Chamber Choir and Percussion Ensemble took first place in their divisions, and percussion received an additional award for its high scores. The Concert Band placed third.

All told, 1,000 students from Florida to Canada were in the city for the festival.