The O’Fallon IL group travels to California in February

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Preparation meets destination: Indiana and California. As they return to routine, the O’Fallon Township High School Panthers have had a successful fall so far in competition.

However, two of their biggest challenges lie ahead – the Bands of America Grand National Championships in Indianapolis from Thursday, November 11 through Saturday, November 13, and another appearance as one of 15 marching bands at the 108th Annual Roses Tournament. Parade in Pasadena on New Years Day.

Currently, 224 students are expected to travel to Pasadena, with 25 staff and chaperones also making the trip. This does not include all of the friends and family who intend to be there to cheer on the marching band.

The Rose Parade, which will begin at 10 a.m. CST on January 1, 2022, is an iconic New Years tradition for millions of people around the world. The parade route is 5.5 miles on Colorado Boulevard and this year’s Grand Marshal is actor LeVar Burton.

The theme this year is: “Dream. To believe. Achieve. ”Robert Miller, chairman of the executive committee, said he celebrated education’s ability to open doors, open minds and change lives.

“Education paves the way for success with a world of opportunity gained through knowledge, compassion and determination. Education is the great equalizer, ”he said. “As a community college educator, I have witnessed the life changing miracle of education. As students visualize their future, education becomes the bridge to fulfill their aspirations and transform the lives of generations to come.

Miller has been to O’Fallon – including taking part in the City Fest parade – and can’t wait for the group to return.

The Rose Parade describes the O’Fallon group as follows:

“The OTHS Band program has a long tradition of musical excellence stretching back over 70 years, known for its comprehensive and high quality music education. Almost half of the parents of students work at Scott Air Force Base as civilians, military personnel or are deployed. Their performances include the 70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, Carnegie Hall, and the Hollywood Parade (2018). The 2022 Rose Parade will be their second time on Colorado Blvd. ”

Groups Across America

The Indiana competition this weekend is considered the country’s premier marching band event and is presented by Yamaha.

“Above all an opportunity for educational performance and evaluation, registration is open to all secondary school bands. Grand Nationals is a celebration of musical excellence that also includes an expo, all in the spectacular Lucas Oil Stadium, which was designed with walking music performances in mind, ”says BOA on its website.

A maximum of 118 groups may participate in the three-day prelims, semi-finals and finals, with 30 qualifying for the semi-finals and 12 of these groups qualifying for the final.

“It’s THE big one for us. The best bands from across the country come to this event. This year will be incredibly difficult with the top ranked national groups, ”said Sarah Dobecki, group parent and coordinator of the 40th annual O’Fallon Band Boosters arts and crafts fair which took place last weekend. .

All proceeds from craft fairs directly support the OTHS and Color Guard programs.

The Marching Panthers made the final at the Bands of America St. Louis event from Oct. 22-23, placing ninth (and the only group from Illinois to do so, among the Texas Powers, Oklahoma , South Dakota and Missouri).

Last month they were also named Grand Champion and 3A Champion and won for Auxiliary, Musical, Visual and General Effects at Lincoln-Way on October 16 and were Class and Grands Champions at the Greater St. Louis Marching Band competition. October 16. 30, led by the Belleville Est and Ouest groups.

Other fanfare events

This year, the marching band participates in five events and featured an exhibit at their own Metro East Marching Classic. Last summer they won the marching band competition at the VP Fair Parade.

In addition, they have done well with their show “Rewriting Reality”, which integrates fine art – music, art and dance. It uses the creative themes of the music and video for a-ha’s 1984 song “Take on Me” and features Elton John’s “Funeral for a Friend”, as well as music by Cirque du Soleil and composer Aaron Guidry.

The theme is echoed in the outfits, which suggest pencil shots and animation, as is the innovative music video which was shown widely on MTV and won six awards at the 1986 MTV Music Video Awards.

Dobecki praised the group for their athletic ability as well as the creativity of everyone involved. Group director Melissa Gustafson-Hinds, aka “Dr. G,” goes above and beyond, she said, as does associate director Phillip Carter.

Learn more about the Rose Bowl Parade

Appearing in several bowling games and college parades over the years, the Tournament of Roses Parade in January is O’Fallon’s opportunity to represent the state of Illinois again and a huge effort.

To that end, Dobecki explained that the craft fair technically does not fund the trip to Pasadena.

“However, they are used for instructor fees, uniforms, show props and all the other things that make Pasadena possible,” she said.

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