By Donna Thornton/News Editor
The Pride of Southside will take a national stage on Thanksgiving Day as members of the marching band perform in the 6ABC/Dunkin Donuts 94th Annual Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The parade – the nation’s oldest Thanksgiving Day parade – will step off at 8 a.m. CST. The parade will be televised on WZDX- Huntsville and streamed live at www.6abc.com.
Southside High School Band Director Matt Weaver said because the event is being broadcast live there’s no guarantee of TV time for The Pride.
However, he said, Southside’s marchers are number 15 in a parade line-up of more than 150.
The early spot in the line up increases that chance that a national audience will get to see and hear the Southside band.
A trip of this kind is more than fun for students, Weaver said.
“Aside from the performance aspect of it, it’s great for our students to be able to travel, to see different parts of the country,” Weaver said.
“It’s a huge honor to be selected to perform at this kind of event,” he said, and it gives students a great sense of accomplishment and self-esteem to participate.
“It shows them the importance of being in band,” Weaver said.
“And it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Student and parent-chaperones will leave Southside on Nov. 26 and travel overnight to Philadelphia. They will have time to see some of the city’s historic sites the afternoon of Nov. 27, then rise early to prepare for the parade on Thanksgiving Day.
After the parade, the band will head for Washington, D.C.
After a Thanksgiving dinner, the students and chaperones will have a full day of sight-seeing in the nation’s Capitol. The band will set out for home on Nov. 29.
Planning for the trip began about eight months ago, and band members have participated in a variety of fundraising activities to help pay for the trip.
Weaver said the band was selected after submitting an application and a videotape of the band performing. He said he learned within two week the band had been selected.