[nfbwatlk] Blind marching band

b-bmanning at comcast.net b-bmanning at comcast.net
Sun Oct 26 11:43:28 CDT 2008

Sounds like fun Joanne.  I would be interested in going. 

Beth Manning 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Joanne Laurent" <joanne at blindcoach.com> 
To: "NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List" <nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org> 
Sent: Saturday, October 25, 2008 11:28:15 PM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific 
Subject: Re: [nfbwatlk] Blind marching band 

Hi Guys, 
    I received information (scroll down for article) that a school for the 
blind (Ohio) has been invited to march in the 2010 Pasadena Tournament of 
Roses Parade. That's a really big thing! I grew up in Pasadena, decorated 
floats and went to almost every parade so I'm very familiar with the 
magnitude of this offer. 
     I'm wondering if there is any interest in planning a trip to Pasadena, 
as a group, to support this band and cheer them on. We've got an entire year 
to pull it together. If you've never spent the night sleeping on the street 
(Colorado Blvd.) and partying all night long this is your chance! A large 
showing at this parade could net the NFB national coverage, not to mention 
it would be a blast! There's no better place to spend New Year's Eve than 
Pasadena, California. Read on for the article: 


Members of the Ohio State School for the Blind marching band react to news 
that their band has been invited to the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade. The 

entire student body was in the gym when the surprise announcement was heard. 

The band's trip to Pasadena, Calif., will cost about $1,500 per person. 
Donations can be sent to the Ohio State School for the Blind 
Parent-Teacher-Staff Organization, 5220 N. High St., Columbus 43214 The 
entire student body had been herded into the gym to sing The Star-Spangled 
Banner, which was video- recorded for a school project. 

That was pretty cool, in itself -- several of the roughly 120 students at 
the Ohio State School for the Blind have perfect pitch, so it wasn't your 
average school-choir rendition. 

What happened next was even cooler: Music director Carol Agler's cell phone 
rang and the crowd went quiet. She held the microphone to the phone's 
earpiece as a man, calling from California, invited the school's marching 
band to join the 2010 Rose Parade. 

You'd have thought Paris Hilton or the Jonas Brothers had just walked in -- 

that's how loud the screaming was. 

"Congratulations, and we look forward to seeing you all," said Gary Di- 
Sano, the parade's president in 2010. 

The Rose Parade, which features flowers-only floats and takes place in 
Pasadena, Calif., each New Year's Day, has never hosted a blind marching 
band. In fact, Agler said she doesn't know of another one in the country. 

Right now, there are only 17 band members, plus about as many sighted 
marching assistants who help them stay in formation. 

"I think this will generate more kids in the band," said Agler, who 
co-directs the band with another teacher, Dan Kelley. They've got a year to 
whip the band into shape and to raise money for the cross-country trip. 

Band members likely will practice marching on the school's campus and even 
on one of the gym's treadmills. The parade route is about 6 miles and will 
take about two hours to march, a grind the band isn't used to. 

"I'm nervous, but I'm excited, too. It's gonna be hard, but we're gonna get 
through it," said Bria Goshay, a 15-year-old snare drummer from Columbus. 

The band was formed in 2005 and played its first full season with about 20 
members in 2006. Its uniforms are castoffs from another high school that got 

new ones. 

During a regular season, the band plays for an audience a handful of times: 
at deaf-school football games, at a Dublin high-school pregame show, at the 
Ohio State University Skull Session in St. John Arena. The band recently 
marched in a Circleville Pumpkin Show parade. 

Twenty-one bands from across the country have been booked for the Rose 
Parade, said music committee chairwoman Stacy Houser. Two others, 
Pickerington Central High School and Ohio University, are from Ohio. 

"A blind marching band is such an incredibly unique thing," she said. "We're 

hoping it'll be an inspiration throughout the country." 

Bands are chosen using several criteria, including marching and musical 
ability, uniqueness and overall talent. 

Macy McClain, who plays the flute and piccolo in the band, likened the honor 

to being on American Idol. 

"Except you don't have to stand in line," she said. 

 Jenine Stanley 

Joanne Laurent 
Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist If you can't learn it, I'm not 
teaching it right! 

Highest Expectations Travel and Adaptive Skills Instruction for the Blind 
P.O. Box 586 Ariel, WA 98603 
(360) 231-4597 

Joanne at blindcoach.com 

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