The Benjamin Russell High School band announced during its Christmas concert that it will be performing in the Thanksgiving Day parade. | Kenneth Boone

Archived Story

When the Pride goes marching in

Published 12:19pm Saturday, December 15, 2012

The McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day parade in Chicago will gain a little local flavor in 2013 with the inclusion of the Benjamin Russell High School band.

“It just seemed like we matched the things that they were looking for,” said Dale Bloodworth, band director. “It’s a really good step for the band.”

Bloodworth announced the news at the Christmas concert Tuesday. He said band members are thrilled.

“They’re super pumped that it’s a parade – that they get to go and be on TV doing what they do,” Bloodworth said. “They’re all excited about jumping on charter buses and going 12 hours away from home.”

Bloodworth said it has been an objective of the band program for a long time to begin building a higher national profile. Being in the Chicago parade takes them one step closer to that goal.

Twenty-four bands from across the nation were involved in the 2012 McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade – Prattville High School represented Alabama.

Bloodworth said the 160-member band will need help from the community to fund the trip.

“We have a lot of little details to go through,” Bloodworth said. “It’s a great opportunity for us, and we’ve been working really hard to have our kids prepared with the kind of professionalism it takes to go and do this.”

But Bloodworth said there was one detail that had to be ironed out – that parade organizers would be flexible with them on return time.

“(We’ll) leave immediately following the parade, in the event we happen to still be playing play-off football, to support the Wildcats Friday night,” Bloodworth said.

The parade goes through downtown Chicago and is broadcast live nationally on WGN America on Thanksgiving morning.