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SHHS ’Topper Band to play at 81st Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade

Madison Mathews • Nov 15, 2012 at 10:01 PM

Lights, camera, action. Next week, the Science Hill High School ’Topper Band goes Hollywood.

On Wednesday, the band will travel from the Tri-Cities to Los Angeles, where they will perform a medley of holiday tunes during the 81st Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade on Nov 25.

The parade will air on the Hallmark Channel sometime in December.

The band has been practicing the music for a couple of weeks, but Thursday was one of the first times the marching band has practiced its parade block outside.

And as one would guess, marching parade-style is a little different from marching on a football field.

“Parades are difficult because you’re always, I mean, the focus level has got to be high,” drum major Aaron Seneker said of marching.

Fellow drum major Lorena Roberts agreed.

“Plus, we march backward, so it’s even harder to turn,” she said.

Band director Carson Vermillion said the group’s practice throughout competition season has helped since many of the marching techniques cross over into the parade season.

“A lot of the techniques and skills that we use throughout the season, they carry over to the parade block, because there are some small differences,” he said.

The Hollywood Christmas Parade route is a little more than two miles long, traveling in front of Los Angeles’ most iconic locations, including Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the Kodak Theatre, the home of the Academy Awards.

This is the second time the ’Topper band has performed in the Hollywood parade after first participating in the event in 2004. It’s one of the many prestigious holiday parades the band performed in over the years.

“Every parade basically serves as an audition for the next event that we’re going to,” Vermillion said.

Aside from looking forward to going to Disneyland and touring Los Angeles, the students are also excited to be representing Science Hill, Johnson City and the Tri-Cities on a national stage.

“Schools from California get to participate in the parade, but we get a chance all the way across the country to go, so it’s really good,” said drum major Lyndsey Smith.

Vermillion said the Hollywood parade and the other parades the ’Topper band participates in just add to the notoriety of the Science Hill band program.

“The band, obviously we have a following here in Tennessee, but it really does have a national reputation because of the parades that we have performed in in the past,” he said.

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