A thousand band students expected to march with Andrews in Christmas parade
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - It will be a Holly Jolly Weekend in Andrews when bands from around West Texas join the Mighty Mustang Band in marching in Friday’s Rockin’ Jingle Bell Lighted Christmas Parade.
“We really were overwhelmed with the amount of support that Andrews has received,” Andrews Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nohemi Sanchez said. “We can’t thank everyone enough for all the support, for the donations, for the participation, to volunteer to make all these things happen in Andrews. Our first responders, our leaders in the community, we have all gotten together to make this work. We had to come up with a different parade route because it is a bigger event and it’s going to draw in a lot more people.”
Those changes were made as the Chamber received word that numerous high schools across the region would join the Andrews High School Band in the annual event. This year would be much different for the band after the tragic November 19 crash that took the life of the band director, Darin Johns, and bus driver, Mark Boswell, as well as injured numerous students.
“I feel like the surrounding communities, we’ve always supported each other,” Sanchez said. “We’ve always come through for each other so I’m not surprised the surrounding communities have poured out their support to Andrews. I’m just really amazed that it’s reached out further than just our Permian Basin area. There are just no words just to express how we are so thankful and blessed.”
Sanchez tells KCBD that there was never a thought of canceling the parade or the Holly Jolly Weekend. In fact, she hoped it would help bring joy back to the community.
According to Brownfield Band Director Will Burks, the idea of area bands joining the parade came from Chris Wheeler at Tarpley Music. Burks used his small school connections and Wheeler called directors around Lubbock to see if anyone would volunteer.
“From that point, it just took on a life of its own,” Burks said. “We thought that if we get 100 kids, that would be great. Then all of a sudden it was 300 and then it was 900. Last I heard, there 1,040 kids that will show up to march that parade with the Andrews kids.”
Burks is not surprised by the show of support from what he says is a close band community.
“It’s a really big family when you take the number of kids that are involved in this process,” Burks said. “You think for just a moment that could have been us, because the number of miles that band buses and football buses travel each year, it’s astronomical.”
Lubbock Cooper High School is one of about 30 schools participating. It will split its band between a football playoff game and the parade.
“I heard about the accident and was just so heartbroken for them,” Senior Lauren Settle said. “I know what it’s like to be in a band and love your band director. It really, really hit home for me. I really was happy that we could be able to do something to serve them and honor them.”
Settle says she looks forward to the experience of marching alongside her fellow band students.
“Music brings people together like no other,” Settle said. “I think that’s really one of the reasons that the performing arts are such a tight-knit community.”
Burks said area band booster clubs will also come together to feed those students marching in the parade.
He wants the Andrews High School Band to know that everyone will continue to be there to support them.
Those who can’t make it to the 7 p.m. parade Friday can watch on the Andrews County Facebook page.
For more information on Holly Jolly Weekend, click here.
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