Imagine the scene. Nearly 160 high school students and 47 chaparones crammed into four charter buses for more than 27 hours. They rode from Wiggins to New York City, so they could spend their Thanksgiving holiday entertaining the world.
On Tuesday, the Stone High Marching Band returned to school, with souvenirs and pictures from the Thanksgiving Day parade.
Band director Mohamad Schuman showed off one of the souvenirs, when the band arrived for what was supposed to be a rehearsal. "We got this lovely trophy of a clown head for participating in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade."
Band members got more than a trophy. They got memories that will last a lifetime. The Macy's parade co-stars reminisced about those memories during band class. "It was unreal," one band member said. "It's like it didn't even happen."
The band had video tape proof that it did happen. On the tape, Katie Couric introduced the Pride of Stone High. "Let's share in the excitement as these three time state band champs kick it up in their parade debut," she read.
In front of the band on Thanksgiving morning was the Lady Liberty float. Behind it was the Mr. Monopoly balloon. Surrounding it on the two-point-two mile route were millions of new friends. Drummer Josh Jackson was in awe. "Even though the New Yorkers weren't from Mississippi, they were cheering," he said. "You could hear them on the side of the road, go Mississippi, go Mississippi. We really enjoyed it. The crowd was really supportive. So it made it fun."
As they watched their performance on tape, you could see the band members reliving every step of their journey from Wiggins to Harold Square.
Color guard member Kim Walker said the best part of the trip was the visit to Broadway. "I loved the musicals. I loved the Lion King." Jamie Fairley agreed. "It was like amazing," she said.
Walker said the overall experience made everything the band worked for worthwhile. Trombonist Christopher Guthrie said the $800 investment was worth every penny. "The parade itself was the best part of the trip," Guthrie said. "Everybody cheering for us. And it was just a really good experience."