The marching Firebirds of Lakota West High School perform in the 2007 Homecoming parade in the Butler County community prior to the band’s New Year’s Day Rose Parade appearance on Jan. 1, 2008. / Enquirer/File
Michael D. Clark reports:
When it comes to invites to international stages, Lakota West High School’s marching band is coming up roses – again.
The nearly 300-member marching “Firebirds“ already holds the historic distinction of being the first Southwest Ohio prep band to earn an invite to the internationally prestigious Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California in 2008.
And on Thanksgiving Day the band will be striding in front of a TV audience of 50 million in New York City’s famous Macy’s Day Parade as the only high school band from Ohio and one of only 11 prep bands nationwide invited to perform.
Now Lakota West band officials have learned that they have earned a return invitation to the Rose Parade, which has an even larger, global TV audience in 140 nations, on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 2015.
The Lakota Board of Education has announced a special meeting Sept. 23 to officially accept the invitation to perform.
“It’s a great honor for the kids, and it’s impressive that they’re ready to do all that work and planning and fundraising to make it happen,” said Randy Oppenheimer, spokesman for the Butler County school system.
The band made history with its first Rose Parade performance on New Year’s Day 2008.
More than 600 students their parents and band staffers made the 3,000 mile trip in late December 2007 for their first Rose Parade performance.
The logistics of getting the large band and its hundreds of instruments, uniforms and equipment across the nation rivaled a military deployment in December 2007 with a cost an estimated $1 million or about $1,700 per student.
Most of the expenses were paid for by the families of participating band members along with money raised through numerous fund-raising events in the year leading up to the trip including first-time, special performances in Lakota Schools by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Ballet.
Lakota is the second largest district in Southwest Ohio and the eighth biggest in Ohio.
The Lakota West band is one of the largest in Southwest Ohio and beloved icon in the community.
And the Lakota East High School band also has an enthusiastic following and though smaller has also received notable invitations to perform out of state. In 2008 the marching “Thunderhawks” performed in Hawaii at the Waikiki Holiday Parade in a show to honor the USS Missouri Memorial at Pearl Harbor.
The Lakota school board, whose meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday will also include a presentation on student achievement and the district’s financial planning, will be held at Lakota Central Office, 5572 Princeton Road in Liberty Township.
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