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Picture-perfect prank in Portsmouth

By   /   November 19, 2013  /   Be the first to comment

Flutist Alanna Shea plays themes from “Star Wars” during the band’s halftime show Friday night. She was one of about 50 seniors who pranked band director Ted Rausch, whose photographic image replaced her plume. Photo by Richard W. Dionne Jr.

Flutist Alanna Shea plays themes from “Star Wars” during the band’s halftime show Friday night. She was one of about 50 seniors who pranked band director Ted Rausch, whose photographic image replaces her plume. Photo by Richard W. Dionne Jr.

PORTSMOUTH — The annual senior pranks endured by Portsmouth High School band director Ted Rausch, while sometimes embarrassing to him, were at least performed away from the public spotlight.

That all changed Friday night.

During their “Star Wars”-themed halftime show in front of hundreds at Friday night’s big football win over Barrington, senior musicians suddenly removed their plumes and replaced them with large photographs of Mr. Rausch as well as drum line instructor Tim Marum, dance team and color guard coordinator Lisa Mailloux and concert band director Donna Valente.

While watching the surprise spectacle from the sidelines, Mr. Rausch turned to one of his volunteers, Ralph Craft.

Drum line instructor Tim Marrum poses next to his photograph — attached to the "Star Wars Death Star" — after the band's halftime show. Senior band members signed the oversized photos. Photo by Justin Hunt.

Drum line instructor Tim Marum poses next to his photograph — attached to the “Star Wars Death Star” — after the band’s halftime show. Senior band members signed the oversized photos. Photo by Justin Hunt.

“I hate you,” he said, shaking his head as Mr. Craft smiled back.

The Craft family was mostly responsible for the prank, which was performed on senior night for the band and football team.

“(My dad) kind of came up with the idea and we just went with it,” said Darby Craft, one of the band’s senior drum majors. “We didn’t know it was going to turn out like that, but it turned out really well.”

The family made 50 8×10 photographs for the seniors to wear. “We made an extra 50 and just gave those out to everybody,” said Darby.

The pièce de résistance were four huge photos — 3×4-foot head shots of the adults — that were attached to the “Death Star” used in the show. After their performance, band students signed the goofy portraits.

Senior trombonist Maria Cardone smiles during a break in playing themes from “Star Wars” during the band’s halftime show Friday night. An image of band director Ted Rausch sits atop her hat. Photo by Richard W. Dionne Jr.

Senior trombonist Maria Cardone smiles during a break in playing themes from “Star Wars” during the band’s halftime show Friday night. An image of band director Ted Rausch sits atop her hat. Photo by Richard W. Dionne Jr.

Laura Blanchette, another senior drum major, said band members took it easy on Mr. Rausch this year.

“It was harmless; he can’t even be mad at us,” she said.

Annual tradition

The tradition of pranking the director started several years ago during a band trip to New York, where students built a wall of soda cans outside his hotel room door. Other pranks have included everything from moving Mr. Rausch’s car so he’d think it had been stolen — he wasn’t too happy about that one — to decorating his room with piñatas and staging an elaborate “wedding ceremony” between two students on a Bermuda cruise ship.

Friday’s practical joke, however, was the most public one yet.

Senior drum major Darby Craft's family was responsible for printing the photographs. Photo by Richard W. Dionne Jr.

Senior drum major Darby Craft’s family was responsible for printing the photographs. Photo by Richard W. Dionne Jr.

After the game Mr. Rausch said the joke came out of left field.

“That was the last thing that I would ever expect — to see my bobble head on the top of the marching band helmets. Seeing it on the ‘Death Star’ was ridiculous.

“It amazes me that these kids never fail to surprise me.”

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