Selma band invited to Mardi Gras parades in Mobile

Published 8:54 pm Monday, January 25, 2010

Now that the Selma City school board has given the Selma High School band permission to travel to Mobile to participate in Mardi Gras parades, the only obstacles let to tackle are fundraising and physically training for the parades.

The band is set to perform in four parades, one on Sunday, Feb. 14, one on Monday, Feb. 15 and two on Tuesday, Feb. 16. The parade routes are five miles each.

Students and faculty must raise the money to pay for the two charter buses and accommodations for the 85 band members and chaperones.

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“We’re trying to get donations from churches and people who wouldn’t mind giving a buck or two,” said Brandon Williams, band director.

Band members are asking for those interested in financially assisting the band to donate by coming to the school and requesting to give money to the band’s fund.

Students must also physically and musically train for the parades.

All songs must be memorized and all members must walk in-step for the two to three hour parades.

“They have to memorize each song because we don’t have those stands for when they’re playing music,” Mr. Williams said.

He also has the students running five laps around the band field and completing five “catwalks,” going up and down the overpass on Franklin Avenue, before coming back into the band room to practice playing the music.

Senior Jeremy Williams, baritone player in the band, has traveled to the Mardi Gras celebration in Mobile with the band his entire high school career.

“We’ve been running so much and exercising,”Jeremy said. “And we’ll play music for four hours. It’s fun but it’s more about discipline.”

Kendrick Parker, senior trombone player with the band, is also a veteran parade performer. His favorite part of performing in the parades is seeing all the people in attendance.

“They get you hyped,”Kendrick said.

The crowd will throw things at them, and by the end of the parade, Kendrick estimates each band member will be wearing 50 to 100 beaded necklaces.

Although his feet will hurt from the hours of marching, traveling overnight with his band mates makes the trip worth it.

“It’s a fun thing that we wish all the band students at schools could experience,” Kendrick said.