Washington, D.C. or bust: Esky band invited to National Independence Day Parade

ESCANABA – Not many high school marching bands can claim an invitation to play at the annual National Independence Day Parade, but this year, one local school’s band can say just that.

The Escanaba High School Marching Band was recently selected to participate in the 2014 Fourth of July Parade in Washington, D.C.

“I got a call from the governor’s U.P. representative Dave Nyberg, who is in Marquette,” said EHS marching band director Bruce Cassell of the group’s selection. “The governor told him that he wanted to recommend or nominate some bands for the parade from Michigan and he wanted to make sure he got one from the U.P.”

And the rest is history as the saying goes, with Escanaba officially notified of their selection last month.

According to www.july4thparade.com, parade organizers strive to have at least one band or unit represent each of the 50 U.S. states each year.

Cassell is in the process of contacting organizers to find out more details of the parade, as the EHS Marching Band, which consists of approximately 100 students each year, already has a trip planned to New York in May of the same year.

“It makes it harder to decide since we’re already going on a trip that year and it usually takes us a couple years to do fundraising for a trip, so I guess as soon as I find out more information, we’ll go from there,” said Cassell.

However, the group is given a few different options should they be able to make the trip.

“They can go for three days, two nights or four days, three nights, but the trip would involve playing, of course, and then going to the Smithsonian and some of the Washington, D.C. sites,” said Cassell.

They would also be invited to take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery and to attend the National Symphony Concert on the Capitol lawn.

No matter whether the band will be able to make the trip to the nation’s Capital to march in the parade, Cassell said he was thrilled the group was even selected.

“I just think it’s a great honor,” he said.

The annual National Independence Day Parade takes place in Washington, D.C. July 4, beginning at 11:45 a.m., according to www.july4thparade.com. The parade takes place on Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Street in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators.

“The parade consists of invited bands, fife and drum corps, floats, military and specialty units, giant balloons, equestrian, drill teams, VIP’s, national dignitaries, and celebrity participants,” according to the site.

The event is co-hosted by the National Park Service and produced by Diversified Events, a group contracted by the National Park Service.

For more information, visit www.july4thparade.com.