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Gladiator Marching Band Heading to NYC Parade

Updated: March 06, 2012, 12:00

GA: The marching band of Johns Creek High School, under the direction of Al Estep and Marcia Laird, will take off for New York City to find their pot-o-gold.

The Marching Gladiators have been offered a tremendous opportunity for a 3-year-old band program, to not only be a part in the “Oldest Continuing Parade in North America,” but to also gain the benefits of touring historical, educational, and various other sites in New York City.

“Ms. Laird and I are proud to have the opportunity to work with such an outstanding group of students,” stated band director Al Estep. “The JCHS marching band is comprised of highly talented individuals.” The band has quickly excelled to the point of competing in a classification larger than their size. As the result, the band directors chose to enter them in Class AA, which include bands twice their size. This past fall the marching band received all superior ratings and took First Place Honors in Class AA Competition.

On Saturday, March 17, the St. Patrick’s Day parade will wind its way down 5th Avenue, and the Marching Gladiators will be keeping step with thousands of other energized participants. It will be all about marchers, no floats and no balloons.

“Our group is super charged over this opportunity,” states Marcia Laird. “I love New York and can’t wait to take another group of deserving students to experience this chance of a lifetime.” Approximately 150,000 marchers are expected to participate in the parade, from high school bands, college bands, military bands, and the largest number of bag pipe bands in the world, even larger than the Scotland parade. Usually, approximately 2 million people will line the parade route to take in this special event. 

“The students want to thank the residents of Johns Creek and Alpharetta for their support during the NYC fundraising events,” stated Estep. “The generous community support has made it possible for many band members to make this trip a reality.”

Area residents turned out last October for the first annual “Treasures from the Trunk Sale,” purchasing many gently used items from students and eager parents of the band booster club. Tons of oranges and aromatic greenery made it into area homes for the holidays adding additional funds into individual student accounts. And don’t forget the pizza! The JCHS band always has the best pizza, regularly on sale to defray costs on future band events.

“So the next time a JCHS band member knocks on your door, ask them where the Marching Gladiators are going next! This first big trip marks the launch of many more to come. This is just the beginning!”

By: Ann Marie Quill johnscreekpatch.com

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