Band Seizes opportunity to play in Philadelphia

By Amber Duncan — Gobble, gobble…march, here comes the school band.

This year, the band will get their first chance to perform in the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Dating back to 1920, the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade is the nation’s oldest parade. Each year, it announces the arrival of the holiday season with floats, marching bands, musical guests and dance teams.

The band is one out of 19 other bands that will perform in the 1.4 mile parade.  They, however, were one of the first bands picked in the long application process.

“To be able to get into the parade we had to send in many excellent recommendations, photos of our band in action, videos of performances and awards,” band director Chris Irwin said.

Some of their other achievements include the excellent ratings in the Ohio Board of Music Education each year and they were featured in the Hall of Fame Enshrinement a couple of years back.

Currently, there are over 150 students participating in band.  More than half will be attendant the trip to Philadelphia.  The band will be gone most of the Thanksgiving holiday and will be able to experience Thanksgiving in a different state.

The band will be leaving Ohio and heading for New York City on Nov. 18 and not returning until Nov. 22.  They will be staying in New York the first three days and then heading to Philadelphia for the parade.

“I think it will be really fun.  I’ve always wanted to go to New York City.  It’s sad that I can’t spend it with my family, but I’m glad I can spend it with my band family,” sophomore Brandon Young said.

The students will be able to visit many places and experience New York City before having to rehearse and perform in the parade.  They are going to see the Phantom of the Opera and the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular.  They will also be visiting the 9/11 Memorial and the Statue of Liberty.

After leaving New York City the band will travel to Philadelphia and visit the Liberty Bell Center and Constitution Hall.

All three of the band directors and over 20 parents will be coming along on the trip to assure the students will be safe at all times while in the city.  Students will be using the buddy system when they are allowed free time to walk through the streets of New York City.  Each parent will have a group of five to eight students to watch to make sure nobody wanders off and gets lost.

“Students are very excited about the trip and know that this is a very special opportunity,” Irwin said.  “Many of the students have never been to New York so they will enjoy the trip a lot.”

The band members are currently practicing and rehearsing to prepare for the performance.

Some of the pre-parade festivities can be seen on Good Morning America on channel 5.  The parade can be seen online at from 8:30 a.m. -12 p.m

[Updated Aug. 7, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]