PHILADELPHIA — Midland Valley and Silver Bluff marching bands performed some Philly-themed music with local flare as they marched with 14 other bands from across the country in the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade on Thursday morning.
David Hastings, Midland Valley director, spoke with the Aiken Standard as the 103 performers prepared to hit the streets to perform a medley of “Gonna Fly Now,” the theme to “Rocky,” and James Brown’s “Living in America”
“ ... Rocky is from here and James Brown is from where we are, and James Brown did the music to ‘Rocky IV,’ so through the Rocky movies, there’s a connection between our area and Philadelphia,” Hastings said.
He said the performers were invited to play in the parade in April, which is when they started preparing for the show.
They also were able to make a trip out of the invitation with help from the Midland Valley High School Band Booster Club that held an all-day festival in August to raise funds.
“They are so excited,” Hastings said.
“They are just really happy to be here. We did a side trip to New York before we came here, so we spent two days in Manhattan and they just totally loved the big city experience.”
In New York, the students visited sites like 30 Rock, Radio City Music Hall, Time Square and Central Park. They also went to Independence Hall when they arrived in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
Performing on a national stage meant a lot for the band members.
“This is huge. I’m sitting here looking at huge balloons, 15 other bands – it’s amazing ... 30- or 40-story buildings (are) next to me,” Hastings said. “This is great.”
Midland Valley’s band has previously performed in Washington, D.C., and Silver Bluff has previously marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, as well as the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade, according to Hastings.
“We have had this honor, but this is the first time probably in the last 10 to 15 years,” Hastings said.