Their Kind of Town

SSHS band marching Thursday in nation’s second-largest Thanksgiving Day parade

From Staff Reports

Nov 19, 2007 - Members of the SSHS Marching Band will be enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, but it won't be in a conventional place.

Staff Photo by Angela Pitts

The Sulphur Springs High School band, under the direction of Charles McCauley, will be participating in the McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Chicago, the nation's second-largest Thanksgiving Day parade, at 8:30 a.m. Thanksgiving Day. The parade will be broadcast on Chicago’s television superstation WGN.

The band will be dining aboard the Spirit of Chicago ship on Lake Michigan Thursday after having marched that morning in the McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Chicago.

The band, under the direction of Charles McCauley, will be participating in the nation's second-largest Thanksgiving Day parade at 8:30 a.m. The parade will be broadcast on television station WGN, which is carried on Dish Network and Direct TV.

This is the 74th year for the parade, which will be viewed live by an estimated 400,000 spectators. Several dozen parents and family members from Sulphur Springs will be among those in attendance.

The 100-plus members of the SSHS band will be in full uniform when they march down State Street as part of the 2 1/2-hour event.

McCauley said as many as 1.5 milllion specators could see the band, “which will be awesome.”

�We�ll be marching toward the end, so put the turkey on, pull up a chair and watch the last part of the parade,� McCauley joked.

The SSHS band is no stranger to playing on the big stage. They played at the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio five years ago, and also went to Washington, D.C., this decade. Another band trip — McCauley said they try to arrange one every two years — had them performing at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark., as well as Branson, Mo., and the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn.

�We�re always looking for opportunities like this, something the kids will remember the rest of their lives,� McCauley said.

While on the trip, the band members will also visit the Navy Pier, Shedd Aquarium and take in its “Oceanarium” show, Field Musuem and Hancock Observatory, in addition to having time to shop on the Magnificent Mile. 

One special treat will be attending a performance of the Chicago Symphony, where John Williams, he of Boston Pops, "Star Wars,” “Jaws” and countless other film scores fame, will be conducting.

And thanks to a lot of held from band boosters, patrons and others, the last check has been sent to the travel agency well in advance of the trip.

�It�s all been paid for �� that�s why I�m smiling,� McCauley said last week. "It�s a big burden on the band boosters, but we didn�t want to have to deny any band member a chance to make this trip because of money � we wanted to make it affordable for everyone.

�We're lucky we're in a community that supports us.�

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