The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local news

November 20, 2012

Big Blue Band to march in Chicago holiday parade

ENID, Okla. — Enid High School’s Big Blue Band is heading to the Windy City to participate in the 2012 McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Enid High School Band Director Robert Anderson said band members raised funds throughout the school year to make the trip this holiday for the parade.

“We were one of 15 bands selected from all over the country,” Anderson said, noting there is a waiting list for other band to participate. “It’s a pretty good honor to get asked to do this.”

The 79th annual McDonald’s Parade follows Chicago’s State Street, from Congress to Randolph, and will be aired on WGN (Channel 10 for Suddenlink customers) 8-11 a.m. Thursday.

Anderson said he, assistant band directors Eric Pennello and Adrian Gomez, about 150 band members and 30 sponsors are taking four buses to the Windy City for this year’s parade.

“The kids have been fundraising since last January to go on the trip,” he said.

The total cost of the trip was about $72,000.

EHS students will perform John Philip Sousa’s “The Washington Post” and Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!”

The buses left Enid Tuesday afternoon and were expected to reach Chicago at about 6 tonight.

“It’s great for the kids to get the national exposure. It’s also great to get them out of Oklahoma,” Anderson said. “A lot of kids don’t get to go anywhere unless they go with the band. A lot of these kids haven’t gotten to travel much.”

As well as participating in the parade, Anderson said the band and sponsors will visit historic landmarks such as the Lincoln Park Zoo, Museum of Science and Industry and the Navy Pier. A visit also is planned for the Hard Rock Cafe Chicago.

Anderson said students and sponsors will have a specially catered Thanksgiving dinner Thursday. Students also will attend a banquet along with 1,900 other students while on the trip.

“They are really excited,” Anderson said of his students. “They were almost hard to contain this (Tuesday) morning. They were really fun.”

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