Brittany ComakFeb 2, 2018, 9:15 pmFeb 5, 2018, 6:40 pm

Drummers with special needs warm up ahead of New York Tennis Open

FREE players Drum & Bugle Corps. Drumline and Color Guard will perform at Nassau Coliseum event


OLD BETHPAGE — Smiles, hugs, and high fives were abound Friday at the practice for the FREE players Drum & Bugle Corps. Drumline and Color Guard.

FREE (Family Enterprises and Essential Enterprises) is a non-profit focused on special needs education and supporting those with disabilities. The group has performed at different events and parades all over the country, but this is the first time they will play ahead of a professional sporting event. This will also be the group’s first time at the Nassau Coliseum. Almost 50 performers will be there on Feb. 15 to kick off the New York Tennis Open.

"I can't even begin to put into words the feeling that it is to see them so excited,” said FREE players Drum & Bugle Corps. Director Brian Calhoun. “All the sweat and the hard work that they've put in all these years to finally be given that opportunity to perform at Nassau Coliseum for a professional sports event like the New York Tennis Open, it's just simply amazing."

"It's very emotional. The Drumline & Color Guard can't wait,” said the drumline’s Jennifer Pace. “We're so excited. It gives us a lot of fans to remember us, and I hope we can have a good time."

"It’s my dream come true. We're going to rock this house down. Let’s do this!" said Color Guard’s Andrea Metteo.

According to Calhoun, the group gets to practice about twice a week.

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Oyster Bay, New York