BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - This Thanksgiving, Biloxi High School's marching band members will be in Philadelphia performing at the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the country.
Biloxi Public School's Director of Bands Travis Coakley said the entry process is pretty rigorous and involved hard work and recommendations from some of the most revered in the field.
"We're so excited. We've been accepted to travel to Philadelphia this Thanksgiving for the Channel 6 ABC Dunkin' Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade and
I couldn't be more excited about it," said Coakley.
More than 200 members of the Biloxi High marching band will perform in that parade. Only 12 bands are selected. Coakley said getting the nod to play in a parade puts the students in the national spotlight. It's something that came after much hard work and recognition.
"You have to ask people in music education fields, college directors, people nationally that have seen and worked with your band, your students and
know that it's going to be of quality," said BHS band member Coakley.
Hailey Perkins realizes the significance of this parade, which will be one of her biggest performances.
"I was like really excited. Like, I couldn't believe," said Perkins.
"I mean, it's always really interesting to get a chance to be in the national spotlight and what a better place than Philadelphia," said BHS band member Hunter Pohlmann.
The band will be given the option to play either holiday or popular music while marching 1.4 miles. The trip out of Biloxi will be a way for them to tour the east coast.
"They're going to tour Philadelphia. We're going to take them to the historical parts and then we're also going to take them to New York City," said Coakley.
Preparation will be key between now and November.
"I practice all the time. I literally practice like all the time. So I love doing this. So yeah I think it's my passion," said Perkins.
And in addition to practicing, there will also be a lot of fundraising. The band members and boosters must raise $250,000 to attend the parade.