Marching band has big plans for July 4 weekend

For the ProgressJune 23, 2014 

COURTESY GRAPHIC

The O’Fallon Township High School Marching Panthers have planned several activities around the 4th of July weekend to help generate support for their Jan. 1, 2015, appearance in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Cal.

The schedule includes a Wednesday, July 2, concert in the Milburn Auditorium at 650 Milburn School Road; the marching band’s annual appearance in St. Louis’s Veiled Prophet (VP) Parade on Friday, July 4; and the first ever O’Town 5th of July Block Party in O’Fallon Community Park on Saturday.

OTHS Band Director Melissa Gustafson-Hinds, Ph.D., said Richard Chinen, president of this year’s Tournament of Roses parade, and his wife Kimberly will be visiting O’Fallon during the week and he will participate in many of the activities.

Chinen will deliver a speech during the July 2 concert, which will feature performances by the Arch City Brass, a five-member modern progressive chamber ensemble, and the Marching Panthers. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. concert are $5 at the door.

Chinen and his wife will then ride in a car preceding the Marching Panthers as they perform in the VP Parade, which this year will take place in Forest Park because of construction in and around the Gateway Arch grounds in downtown St. Louis.

He also will join O’Fallon Mayor Gary Graham on the reviewing stand during a parade scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, July 5, to kick off the O’Town 5th of July Block Party. The parade, featuring the Marching Panthers, Shriners bands and several other groups, will step off from Weber Road and head west on Highway 50.

It will then turn north on Lincoln St., east on Third St. and, finally, south on Smiley St. to return to the OTHS campus.

The Block Party will then run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in O’Fallon Community Park. The family-oriented activities include a barbecue contest to be judged at 1 p.m., an arts and crafts fair, a car show, an ultimate frisbee tournament, a pie-in-the face booth, a dunk tank, and music, food and beverages, including beer from Global Brew.

“The mayor has been coordinating this with us and there will be something for everybody,” Gustafson-Hinds said.

She then explained money raised at the July 2 concert and during the Block Party will help cover the cost of the Marching Panthers’ trip to Pasadena.

Gustafson-Hinds estimated the trip will cost approximately $2,000 per band member and said, “We want every kid to go because they have earned it and right now we do have almost every member signed up.”

During its time in California, the band will not only appear in the Rose Parade but it also will perform at Disney Land and in a pre-parade band festival at Pasadena City College that will showcase the field shows of each of the bands taking part in the parade. Gustafson-Hinds said that means not only must all of the band’s parade equipment be shipped west but also all of the equipment needed for its field show.

“The kids are all excited about representing the school and the community and we are very honored by this whole thing. We also are hopeful the people of O’Fallon will come out and support our high school band.

“A show of support by attending the 5th of July parade and block party will demonstrate to the Rose Bowl officials what a great city we have and how much our community supports our local high school students,” she said.

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