Marching Huskies shine in Disney World’s ‘Thanksgiving Parade of Bands’


Corey Kessler

From left to right: Montgomery Ellwanger, Elise Scheuring, Thomas Smith

Delaunay Krauter, A&E Editor

After a 20-hour bus trip, band members rubbed the sleep from their eyes, making

painful attempts to wake up sleeping limbs. As they stepped out of the coach bus that carried them from Oak Park to their destination, they were welcomed by the warm Florida sun and the bright, smiling faces of children pulling their parents by themselves through the theme park’s entrance.

This Thanksgiving break, the OPRF Marching Huskies were invited back to Orlando, Florida for the first time in four years to perform in the Thanksgiving Day parade at Disney World. Working with nationally recognized Drum Corps International (DCI) directors, the band played for Disney World guests to celebrate the holiday.

Playing songs like “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Da,” “It’s a Small World,” “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean,” the band marched alongside six other bands for a duration of 30 minutes before the Color Guards collectively closed out the show.

OPRF participates in the Walt Disney World ‘Thanksgiving Parade of Bands’ every four years

Those who have attended any Huskie football games on our home turf have witnessed the band’s halftime show; the instruments singing in chorus as the technicolor flags wave above, dancing in the wind of cold, September nights.

But this performance was not so elaborate, at least for the color guard.

Senior Grace Santos, a member of OPRF color guard, is a four-year veteran marcher. “Color guard was only required to spin for certain chunks of the show,” Santos said. “Our color guard spun for ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ which was only for about two mins. Then at the end of the show everyone from all color guards took an American flag swing flag and did a small one min routine.”

Charlie Kreidler and Audrey Kessler, however, played a different role in the parade. As drum majors, these students led the band as they paraded through The Magic Kingdom. “Charlie and I marched at the front of the parade. He held a banner saying ‘Thanksgiving Parade of Bands’ while I followed close behind,” Kessler said. “It was empowering to stand at the front representing our band.”

Kriedler felt similarly, but gives props to Kessler who conducted the band the entirety of the parade. “Audrey was conducting our band the whole time they played,” said Kriedler. “By the end of the parade I couldn’t feel my arms, I can’t imagine how hers felt.”

However, almost every member of the band came prepared, practicing extra leading up to the show. Santos said, “We had an occasional practice about once a week a month in advance but otherwise it was up to you to practice on your own if you needed to practice.”

But no hard work went without reward. When the parade was over and the crowd dissipated, the band was ready to enjoy the adrenaline rushes of roller coasters, and sweet and salty snacks.

For Santos, the most memorable part of the trip was when “they projected new and classic disney movies and played a combination of music (some covers of Disney songs) that literally brought tears to my eyes,” she said. “It was about all the classic Disney lessons like friendship, family, loss, life, strife, and courage. You know, being who you are.”