BY SAM SCINTA WEEKLY REPORTER
The O’Fallon Township High School Marching Panthers have been hard at work late into December to prepare for a trip south to brighter lights and warmer weather to ring in the New Year.
Miami, Florida beckons our Marching Panthers with a performance in the Orange Bowl, and the group has been toiling away over a month after their competitive season ended.
“We’re excited to get down to Florida and to march in the Orange Bowl game,” junior Kevin Belobrajdic said. “These trips are great because you’re with people that you grow close to over the course of a season and you get to share in awesome experiences.”
The band will be the feature high school band playing pre-game at the Orange Bowl between #6 Michigan and #11 Florida State on December 30.
O’Fallon is the only band in the country that was selected for this performance, a fitting end to a season that featured a successful defense of the Governor’s Trophy and a 22nd place showing at the Bands of America Grand National Championships.
“The Orange Bowl is going to be an exciting opportunity for us,” Director of Bands Dr. Melissa Gustafson-Hinds said. “We haven’t been in 15 years, so it’s going to be really great for us to return to that stage and to continue to grow the name of our program.”
The Marching Panthers have not been to the Orange Bowl since 2001.
Members from the band who wished to participate in the trip took place in fundraisers throughout the season. Fundraising collection jars were also placed at locations throughout the O’Fallon area.
The group will take time to enjoy some of South Florida’s attractions while on the trip in addition to the Orange Bowl festivities, planning to go to amusement parks as well as the highly anticipated football game.
“It’s really cool that we get to take part in events like this through the band,” Belobrajdic added. “It’s something special.”