Batavia High School marching band members had a one-of-a-kind experience on the third day of their spring break April 1.
Band members arrived to school bright and early, packed up their instruments and headed downtown to participate in the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade.
“It was great,” David Smith, band director, said about the experience. “I thought it was a really cool experience for the kids.”
Smith said he had the idea to participate in the Opening Day Parade this year after watching Goshen’s band participate last year.
He said he contacted the band director and began the process of participating in the parade.
“I got the contact information for the parade organizer at Findlay Market,” Smith said. “We sent a letter of intent in and went through the process of how they select.”
Smith said he was a little nervous because he knew the parade was going to be more difficult to get into this year.
“We found out a little over two weeks ahead of the parade that we would be one of the groups participating,” Smith said.
Smith said they didn’t have too much time to practice, so they went with songs that they had played, and that some of the eighth grade students knew.
“We let some of the eighth grade kids march with us because they had marched last fall,” Smith said.
He said they played a Black Eyed Peas song and a One Direction Song during the parade.
“The kids did wonderful,” Smith said. “I think we looked at it as things we did well and things we could improve on for next season.”
Smith said they marched in several parades last year including the Memorial Day Parade in Batavia and a parade at the Jackson Apple Festival.
He said the Opening Day Parade was also a great experience for the kids.
“It’s great to be able to do those big experiences,” Smith said. “It’s not a lot of pressure, but it’s a big reward.”
Band members Braedon Frisch, a junior, and Rebekah Boden, a sophomore, both participated in the parade and said they enjoyed the experience.
“I thought it was a really great experience,” Frisch said. “It was awesome to go down the streets of Cincinnati and see everyone smiling, listening to what we play.”
Frisch said this was his first time participating in, or watching the parade.
“Now that I know how cool it is I will definitely probably watch it or go to it every year,” Frisch said.
Boden said she also thought the parade was exciting.
“It was loud and there was a lot of positive energy,” Boden said. “My favorite part of the parade itself was looking at the crowd and seeing them smile because they knew the songs that we were playing.”
Boden said she was nervous when she first heard the band would be participating in the parade, but after practicing the songs she said she was confident they would do well.
“I was excited that our band had the opportunity to participate in this prestigious event in our city,” Boden said.
According to the Findlay Market Parade website, the history of the parade traces back to 1890.
The parade grew from a small, group-organized parade into the exciting Opening Day festivity that it is today. The parade begins at Findlay Market on Race Street and ends at Great American Ballpark.
It is one of several events planned each year on Opening Day for the Cincinnati Reds.
For more information about the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade, visit www.findlaymarketparade.com.