ELLISVILLE, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from Jones County Junior College.
Jones County Junior College's Maroon Typhoon Marching Band will be spending the Thanksgiving holiday in Chicago, Illinois as part of the McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Before the group of nearly 200 band students and staff leave for the "windy" city, the public is invited to attend their last performance and practice on Thursday, November 19, at 7 p.m. JCJC Interim Director of Bands, Jeff Cannon invites the public to attend this free, parade exhibition in the Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field.
"I can't wait to see our kids represent JCJC and the State of Mississippi. They are awesome young people!" said Cannon. "I am so proud of them. They are the hardest working young people I've ever been around!"
For the parade and exhibition the Maroon Typhoon will perform "Jingle Bell Jam" arranged by Brad Pearson. It's also the tune the group intends to perform as it marches by the TV cameras in Chicago. In between these musical pieces, the band will be marching to several different drum cadences and the classic, "Adeste Fidelis" arranged by Steve Barnett. The band will also be doing some "horn flashes" or visuals during "Jingle Bell Jam" as they march by the cameras. The color guard will be spinning candy-canes instead of rifles and both the color guard and Touch of Gold dancers will be wearing winter outfits, while the marching band will be showing off its new uniforms that were premiered this season.
JCJC sophomore drum major, Tanner Crabtree from Gautier, said he's excited to be able to showcase the Maroon Typhoon to the nation in the Chicago parade.
"It's been a while since the band has traveled to perform in a national venue. I'm excited to show off the band's growth and our sound. I am also really excited to be nationally televised. I think that will help put our college and music program on the map nationally."
Sophomore clarinet section leader, Kennedy Jarrell from Sandersville said she thinks the JCJC band has a lot to show off and she is proud of how the season has progressed.
"We started our season in summer band camp working on marching fundamentals and we have improved so much this season so it's going to be great to show off for everyone. I am also excited to travel outside the state and perform in our new uniforms," said Jarrell.
The Maroon Typhoon has built its reputation through a variety of performances across the United States. The band performed for the world's fair exhibition of 1984, 1991 and 1997. It has marched in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1993 and 1997, and in 2000, the King Orange Jamboree Parade. In 1996, the Maroon Typhoon performed for millions of viewers internationally in the granddaddy of them all, the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. More recently, the band has made two appearances in the Chicago Christmas Parade and they performed in Washington D.C. and New York, New York for Veterans Day Parades in 2007.
JCJC Fine Arts Chair, Dr. Susan Smith said she is thrilled the Maroon Typhoon will have the opportunity for another nationally televised parade appearance. The trip will have a lasting impact long after the buses have returned and classes have resumed. Recruiting talented students is a top priority for the Fine Arts Division and nothing screams, "come be a part of our program," like success.
"This performance will afford us the opportunity to showcase the talents of our students, faculty and staff, and will stimulate interest in Jones County Junior College and Southeast Mississippi. Research tells us that schools that have music programs, specifically 'excellent' music programs, have significantly higher graduation rates, so I know as our instrumental program thrives, so does our college," said Dr. Smith.
One JCJC freshman trombonist, Ben Husbands from Pearl said he has mixed feelings about traveling but likes having the opportunity to go to Chicago.
"Since I'm 6 '9", I am not looking forward to the bus ride. However, when we get to Chicago, I will be excited to see The Blue Man group, different bands and different people from all over the country as well as experience the cold weather."
The parade route is approximately one-mile long beginning on Congress Street north, to State Street as the main parade venue. The McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade and can be seen on WGN-TV from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. This parade originated in the 1930's as a Christmas Caravan and by 1934 it was modified to help lift the spirits of residents suffering through the Great Depression. Since then, it has developed into a full-scale spectacle that celebrates the holiday season.
The Maroon Typhoon will leave JCJC on Tuesday, November 24, at 7 a.m. and return the morning of Saturday, November 28. For more information about the JCJC Maroon Typhoon or the Fine Arts Department call the main office at 601-477-4094.