What a perfect piece of small-town America for those who got to see Saturday's parade and Band Day performance along Main Street and on the football field for some of the beach towns in Southern Monmouth County.

I am now a 'band mom'. I never expected that. Until my son decided that nothing would get in his way of learning an instrument for the school band. Benjamin has been practicing his sax for so long that I was thrilled when his first performance took place this past Saturday.

I had never even heard of "Band Day" so I was just amazed at how wonderful our community and town is. Elementary school bands from Manasquan, Spring Lake, Spring Lake Heights, Belmar, Sea Girt, and Brielle all came together to proudly play some songs for us.

I love that Manasquan will close down Main Street for a parade, bringing smiles and entertainment to residents and visitors alike. It just plain brings a smile to your face!

The weather was perfect for a parade and football game. First, thanks to the awesome band instructors of these sending districts (whose band members will converge at Manasquan High School when they graduate from their elementary schools) for bringing all of these children together to play in the parade and at the halftime show for the high school football game.

And thanks to the Manasquan High School band for welcoming all of the younger kids, too.

There was a great turnout for the parade, and the younger kids' performance during the football game was simply heartwarming.

(Photo by Liz Jeressi)

I am proud to be a band mom...and I must take a moment to especially thank my school's band director, Joe Battista, for setting such a great example of how good it can be to bring an instrument (or two) into your life! My child has grown tremendously because of the inspiration of his school band instructor. And let's not take for granted what it takes to bring together so many children and teach them the discipline they need to become successful performers!

Also thanks to Alan Abraham, Tim Prol, and all of the other band instructors (sorry I don't know your names but I hope to be introduced to you one day!) who put together this challenging and worthwile event year after year. It is no easy task, but I am here to tell you that it is greatly appreciated by this mom.