Marching Panthers return to O’Fallon after performing at Rose Parade

Illinois

O’FALLON, Ill. — The Marching Panthers of O’Fallon Township High School were welcomed home Monday afternoon after performing on New Year’s Day at the historic Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. 

“There were so many people sitting up there just watching and cheering and it was the best feeling I’ve ever had,” OTHS Marching Panthers Band Conductor Ben Smith said.  

A total of 225 members of the nationally recognized marching band had the experience of a lifetime at one of the most popular parades in the world.  

“There are millions and millions of people that watch that parade and there were tens of thousands of people right there at that corner turn, so it made me just realize how big of a deal this was to be a part of,” OTHS Marching Panthers Band Conductor Jackson Glover said.  

The only hiccup this year was a delayed return flight home Monday morning.  

“I definitely did a little bit of ugh and set my head on the table. We didn’t have much sleep throughout the trip I think everybody just wanted to sleep on the plan to go home and see their family,” Smith said.  

Smith said the delayed flight doesn’t take away from the unforgettable memories made.   

“It was incredible like you could feel the energy. The parades were incredible so it’s like a lifelong memory it’s like being told you’re going to have this the rest of your life it’s truly incredible,” he said.  

Waiting had become a part of the journey to Pasadena for the marching band.  

OTHS Marching Panthers Assistant Director of Bands Philip Carter said the band was supposed to perform in the Tournament of Roses Parade last year, but because of COVID, they weren’t able to.  

“Living with remote learning, with cancellations, even this past week of flight cancellations, and delays to finally march down Colorado Blvd with our band and do the thing that we’ve been waiting for two years was absolutely incredible,” Carter said.  

It may have taken longer than planned but it was worth the wait and honor to perform.  

The Marching Panthers of O’Fallon Township High School were finally able to enjoy their invite to one of the most recognized and respected parades in the world.  

“This is definitely the most impressive achievement that our band has had in a really long time. This something I’m going to keep with me the rest of my life and I’m so happy I got to be a part of it because barely anyone ever gets to do this,” Glover said.  

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