Shawnee Marching Band to perform in 2024 Chicago Thanksgiving Parade

The Shawnee Marching Band will perform at next year’s Chicago Thanksgiving Parade.

The Pride of Shawnee Marching Band will travel to Illinois in 2024, under the direction of Sarah Smith, as they take part in the 90th annual Chicago Thanksgiving Parade on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2024. The high school was invited to perform by the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade and WorldStrides Performing Arts.

“This is a huge accomplishment for our students, our band program, and our district,” Smith said. “Participating in the parade is an opportunity of a lifetime — one we will never forget! We are excited and proud to represent Clark-Shawnee, the Springfield Township community, and the state of Ohio.”

The band will follow the traditional parade route, marching down the historic State Street to perform for more than 400,000 people and a national television audience. Last year, 3.54 million viewers tuned in to watch the parade.

For the 2023-24 school year, the band has 63 participants in eighth through 12th grades, with 47 student musicians and 16 color guards. The band is led by band director Smith, and assistant band director Megan Bell.

“(The students) have set a standard of excellence for our program, and they work hard every day to become better musicians, performers, students, and individuals. Their hard work and dedication has not gone unnoticed,” Smith said. “I am beyond grateful for this amazing opportunity and excited that they will have the chance to march down the historic State Street in the 2024 Chicago Thanksgiving Parade.”

Clark-Shawnee announced the invitation to the band, students and staff at a pep rally last week.

“An invitation to perform at the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade is an honor reserved for the most talented marching bands from across the nation,” the district said.

Each year, only 16 bands are selected to perform in the parade, which is second only to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Chicago Thanksgiving Parade began in 1934, and broadcast by WGN America on TV for the first time in 2007. It features staged live entertainment, marching bands, performing arts, equestrian teams, festival floats, honored guests, Santa Claus, and more.

Today, the parade partners with WorldStrides Performing Arts to bring in the best high school marching bands from across the country. To participate, bands go through an application and screening process by applying the year before the parade and submitting two performance videos.

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