The Pride of Benjamin Russell Marching band will travel to Chicago for the 79th annual McDonalds Thanksgiving Parade. | File
The Pride of Benjamin Russell Marching band will travel to Chicago for the 80th annual McDonalds Thanksgiving Parade. | File

Archived Story

BRHS band to march in Chicago’s Thanksgiving Parade

Published 7:43pm Wednesday, November 6, 2013

While many will be prepping for a Thanksgiving feast, the Pride of Benjamin Russell High School Marching Band will be lining up on the streets of Chicago for 80th McDonalds Thanksgiving Parade.
Band director Dale Bloodworth said the band had been looking for an opportunity to perform at such a venue and decided to apply last year.
“We submitted a video from last year’s Christmas parade,” Bloodworth said. “Within a day of submitting that, they called us back and asked us to be in the parade.”
The Pride will join 14 other bands from all across the country including bands from Michigan, Iowa, Ohio, California, Texas, Tennessee, Maryland, Missouri, Kansas and South Dakota. The parade will be broadcast on WGN America, available in approximately 75 million households. The broadcast will run from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Bloodworth said parents and students have raised funds to pay for the trip, and he thanked the community for all its support.
The parade will feature a selection of Christmas music written and arranged by Bloodworth and assistant band director Mike Muncher.
“We the use the Wizards of Winter by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and bounce some other Christmas tunes throughout it,” Bloodworth said. “We also use a tune from A Christmas Story, the one where they are in front of the department store and there is this really awkward version of O Christmas Tree.”
So far, Bloodworth says they aren’t sure what spot they will appear in the parade.
The trip will be more for than just a parade for the band members.
“We want to try to take in as much of the culture and educational opportunities in Chicago that we can,” Bloodworth said.

Students will view the Skydeck, eat some Chicago-style pizza and go watch Wicked at Oriental Theater, among other things.
Also, there will be a banquet and dance for all the 1,400 band members at the parade.
However, with the Wildcats still going strong in the playoffs, the band has already made arrangements to be back in town.
“A lot of people are going up the day before the parade and staying through the weekend, but we will be leaving in order to get back that Friday,” Bloodworth said.