“The Cartersville Christmas Parade preparations have already begun with the parade sequence and rehearsing those pieces during band class,” band director Eric Willoughby said.
The band began practicing its formation, or parade block, this week and will perform the same pieces at Orlando as it will for the annual Christmas parade.
“We’re changing the music this year from the music we’ve played over the last couple of years to a piece called ‘An American Christmas,’ so it’s kind of a montage of Christmas songs, but it also has an Americana flare with quotes from ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’ and a few other American tunes, so it’s a fun, little bright piece of music to play,” Willoughby said.
While the exact distance for the route was not available at press time, Willoughby said the band will have to march through the entire theme park. Students not only will have to memorize the parade route, but also have to prepare for the physical strain of navigating the large park while carrying instruments.
“The marching bass drum, the marching tenor drums and the sousaphone are the heaviest instruments ... between about 20 and 30 pounds each,” Willoughby said. “... The parade floats in this parade are also the same floats used in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“This is a newer parade that’s being held in Orlando kind of in conjunction with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade so we’re using this as part of our resume to build up and hopefully get selected as one of the 12 high school bands across the country who will play in [the Thanksgiving Day Parade] in New York.”
Sophomore Sophia Inaba serves as a drum major and has to lead the band during rehearsals and performances. She said she is excited about the upcoming trip.
“We go on big trips about every other year, so I didn’t get to go on any trips last year,” Inaba said, adding she did perform with the district honor band.
Brittney Sizemore, a senior who plays clarinet, has experience performing with the band in areas beyond a football field or known local route. As a sophomore, Sizemore played with the band at the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.
“There were some distractions [at the Cherry Blossom Festival] like a car being set on fire in front of us, but you just have to take it in stride and just listen to whatever instruction is given,” Sizemore said. “... With [the Macy’s Holiday Parade] it’s a really big deal and everyone loves Universal [Studios], so we’re very excited.”