When the Jacksonport Thanksgiving Day Parade steps off for its 18th year of bringing the community together on Thursday, it will be to the beat of nearly two dozen band students from Gibraltar and Sevastopol high schools.
The combination band, in its second year, is just another example of how people from all walks of life come together for this annual event – even students from what can sometimes be considered “rival schools.” But with the Jacksonport Thanksgiving Parade band, their love of music is a binding force that stretches far beyond their respective schools’ hallways.
This will be just the second year that the band, under the direction of Sevastopol 5-12 band director and 4K general music teacher Tanya Hasenjager, has come together for the parade. Last year, they rode on a flatbed while playing holiday favorites, but this year Hasenjager said the band just might have to do some marching.
“We are too big!” she says.
This year’s band includes four flutes, two clarinets, one tenor sax, four trumpets, one or two French horns, one baritone, three trombones, and a few percussion pieces. The band is completely volunteer-based and does not rehearse together before the parade.
“Because both schools are smaller and our students are typically involved in everything, practice beforehand as a combined group doesn’t happen,” Hasenjager said. “We practice with our individual schools and we just show up the day of the parade and hope for the best!”
It is a fun, neat experience for the kids,” she added. “It is not your traditional parade from a band aspect.”
The parade steps off from the Jacksonport fire station at 10:30am on Thanksgiving.