Marching Mountaineers part of D.C. July 4 celebration
BAKERSVILLE – Neither The Rolling Stones nor The Beatles have played in front of crowds as large as the one the Mitchell High School Marching Mountaineers will entertain on the Fourth of July when the band represents the state of North Carolina in the July 4th Independence Day parade in Washington, D.C.
America’s National Independence Day Parade takes place annually at 11:45 a.m. on July 4 on Constitution Avenue from Seventh to Seventeenth streets before an audience of hundreds of thousands of spectators around the world.
“The band will also enjoy Fourth of July festivities on the National Mall, culminating with the nation’s largest fireworks display that evening,” said Candace Rhodes-Mull, Mitchell High School band director.
Mitchell High School Principal Mark Woody said the band’s inclusion in the parade is well-deserved.
“We are very pleased our students have the opportunity to participate in this year’s Fourth of July parade in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “Ms. Mull and the MHS band have put in several hours planning and preparing for this event.”
The parade is a major national event consisting of invited bands, fife and drum corps, floats, military and specialty units, giant balloons, equestrian, drill teams, VIPs, national dignitaries and celebrity participants.
“I am excited to participate in the National Independence Day Parade and to experience it,” said Cody Burleson, freshman trombone player.
Paying for a three-day trip to the nation’s capital for a band was quite a task, but the financial goal set to finance the trip has been met.
“These children, parents and staff have worked so hard this year to raise money for this trip,” said Sarah Hobart, band booster. “I have lost count of the number of hot dogs sold and the many places we sold them.”
The Parade is co-hosted by the National Park Service and produced by Diversified Events, which is under contract to the National Park Service.
Participating bands are invited based on recommendations from each state’s governor’s office. Mitchell was nominated by United States Rep. Mark Meadows, R-11.
“Hearing the MHS Marching Mountaineers are the only high school marching band to represent North Carolina in the 2016 National Independence Day Parade is a very scary, yet exciting thing to hear,” said Layton Fox, junior trumpet player and drum major. “Our hard work, determination and plethora of practices have come down to this parade on July 4 – we have put in an uncountable amount of hours and days preparing for this and we are sure we will proudly represent not only our community, but our state as well. Don’t worry when I tell you our purple, black and gold will be worn with the most undoubted pride.”
MHS junior and band captain and clarinet player Casey Mickleborough said the band has grown accustomed to hard work, so preparing for the parade isn’t much different from the norm.
“In the past few months we have all worked very hard to get where we are now,” she said. “I’m very proud of our band and can’t wait to experience this amazing opportunity.”
Hobart is asking the community to rally around the Mountaineers and the distinction of being the lone band representing North Carolina in a parade of such magnitude.
“I believe this students deserve community support as they represent their county and state,” Hobart said.