A previous version of his story gave the wrong first name for Justin Godlewski.
ROTTERDAM — Only three students knew what Schalmont band director Justin Godlewski had in store for their April trip to Disney World in Florida. After the band’s parade down Main Street in the center of the Magic Kingdom, he planned to ask his girlfriend a certain question — and he enlisted the band’s help in doing it.
“I let them in on it the day of the parade; I wanted to keep it a secret,” Godlewski said of his band-assisted marriage proposal. “I told them: ‘It will be one of the most memorable days of her life, you will have to help give me one of the most memorable performances of her life.’ ”
The plan was for Godlewski and his girlfriend of nearly three years, Christina Reger, to go for a stroll through the park as the band gathered in a circle. “I thought what better place to do it than at the happiest place on earth,” he said.
Senior Alex Gould, band drum major, was tasked with pulling Reger aside — she faked a need for advice about a boy that snuck into one of the girls rooms — so Godlewski could get the ring and ready himself for the question.
Gould led Reger into the circle of band students and one-by-one they handed her pictures of her time with Godlewski. Godlewski snuck up behind her, dropped down to one knee and proposed.
“She was so excited, she jumped up and down and said yes,” Gould said. “She was shaking with happiness.”
Every four years, the Schalmont High School marching band makes the trip to Orlando, Fla., to parade down Main Street in front of the Cinderella Castle. Last month, with a prime afternoon parade time, the band performed Pitbull’s “Fireball” and “I’m Shipping up to Boston” by the Dropkick Murphys. Godlewski praised the students — about 67 made the trip — for their countless hours of practice and fundraising to make the trip possible.
He said his now-fiancée has grown close with many of the students as she comes to practices, games and performances. The couple lives together in Rotterdam. Godlewski didn’t think she would appreciate a public proposal around a bunch of strangers, so he had the band students encircle her as a shield for the proposal.
“They were the ones that made it what it was,” Godlewski said of the students. “It wouldn’t have been as big as it was without their help.”
For Gould and other seniors, it was an unforgettable cap to their years with Godlewski, a Mohonasen High School graduate who has worked as band director at Schalmont for seven years. Gould said she wouldn’t mind a Disney proposal of her own one day.
“It will always be one of the most memorable things I will be able to look back on for the rest of my life,” she said.
Reach Gazette reporter Zachary Matson at 395-3120, [email protected] or @zacharydmatson on Twitter.