The O’Fallon Township High School Marching Band has returned from a trip to Los Angeles, where it marched on the red carpet in the Hollywood Christmas Parade on Sunday, November 25.
The band spent four days in California participating in various events, including having Thanksgiving dinner on the Queen Mary, performing at L.A. Live outside of the Staples Center, some free time fun at Disneyland and Universal Studios, music workshops at Disneyland and the Grammy Museum, and the crowning event–marching in the 2018 Hollywood Christmas Parade.
The parade will air on the CW network on at 7 p.m. Dec. 14, and be rebroadcast on the Hallmark Channel thereafter through December.
Bands are selected for the parade based on a variety of criteria, including musicianship, marching ability, uniqueness, and entertainment value, as well as the ability to perform field show-type maneuvers while continuing to march.
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“Who gets to say they’ve walked or marched on the Red Carpet down Hollywood Boulevard? We do, and we’re so grateful to have had the opportunity,” said Dr. Melissa Gustafson-Hinds, director of bands at OTHS. “It was a fun and memorable time for the band, and a great way to top off an amazing 2018 marching season.”
In November, at the Bands of America Grand National Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, the Marching Panthers competed among 108 other bands representing 30 states, making it through the preliminary and semi-finals rounds to become a top 12 finalist for the first time on November 10 with their show entitled “Stretching the Canvas.”
The band also collected numerous other awards during the 2018 season:
Tiger Ambush Classic
- Grand Champion
- 1st Place in Class 4A Field (Music, Visual, GE, Percussion, Color Guard)
Bands of America Regional Championships: Clarksville, TN
- Grand Champion
- 1st Place in Class 4A Field (Music, Visual, GE)
- 1st Place in Finals (Music, Visual (tie), GE)
Illinois State University Invitational Marching Championships
- 1st Place in Class 5A Field (Music, Visual, GE, Crowd Appeal)
- 2nd Place in Finals
Bands of America Super Regional Championships: St. Louis
- 4th Place in Class 4A Field
- 5th Place in Finals
Additionally, the OTHS Band Booster’s program Band Together won an Advocacy in Action award from Music for All.
The band program was also chosen as a Programs of Excellence Blue Ribbon Award Winner from the National Band Association, recognizing the program as one of the best in this region of the country.
Before hanging up their marching uniforms for the season, the band will perform a variation of “Stretching the Canvas” one final time for the local community in the “Christmas in O’Fallon” concert program held in the Panther Dome at the O’Fallon Township High School’s Smiley campus at 6 p.m. on December 5.
The concert band season follows.
“Being a top tier band means lots of hard work and dedication throughout the year. This ensures that we stay in peak performance mode in our musicality, performance, and pageantry,” Gustafson-Hinds said. “These talented kids put in their all, and it pays off more and more every year. I’m so honored to be their director.”