The Carroll County High School Marching Band will represent Virginia in the nation’s capital on July 4, 2017 for the National Independence Day Parade in Washington, D.C.
As if the invitation itself wasn’t a big enough honor, the Marching Cavaliers were nominated by United States Senator Mark Warner, a former Governor of Virginia.
“We were surprised and very honored to receive that recognition from the Senator,” CCHS Band Director Michael Farina said. “We feel extremely blessed to be nominated and we want to do our best representing Carroll County and Southwest Virginia. I don’t think there is a better Independence Day Parade to be in, to be in the nation’s capital on the Fourth of July, to get to see the fireworks that evening and the national symphony, so we definitely need to write Senator Warner a big thank you letter.”
Since taking over as the CCHS Band Director in 2010, Farina has guided the Marching Cavaliers into a powerful program that has won many awards and honors over the past six years. He said he’s still not sure how the nomination from Warner came about.
“I have no idea how he did it, but he picked us so we are going to take him up on the offer,” Farina said. “They told us there are a couple of different ways to get invited to the parade, either through a Senator’s nomination or a music association’s nomination. It will be our yearly trip next year and we expect it will be a lot of fun.”
The 2017 National Independence Day Parade will actually mark the second time Farina has been involved with the patriotic parade. He performed as a middle school student at Fauquier County in 1992.
“It was huge. It is pretty much the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade but on the Fourth of July. It’s that big,” Farina said. “It’s definitely an honor to take the kids up there, hopefully get some help from the community helping the kids out, trading out some of these older instruments for some newer, nicer looking ones, something we can make the best representation of Carroll County that we can. I marched in it when I was in the eighth or ninth grade and I never thought I would have the opportunity to do it again, so I am happy I get to do it as a director as well.”
Farina said the deadline to submit all the paperwork for the event is not until February, but everyone’s so excited about it “I plan on having that in the mail by the end of the week.” He broke the news to the students Monday.
“They were amazed and just shocked in a good way. They were so excited,” Farina said. “The seniors this year unfortunately won’t get to go with us because they are graduating, but I told them we wouldn’t have gotten to this point if it weren’t for their hard work. They have helped build the program to what it is now so they get to claim credit for the invitation, but unfortunately they don’t get to go.”
Next year’s seniors will have graduated by the time July of 2017 rolls around, but they will still be able to make the trip. While the trip is for the CCHS Marching Band, Farina said anybody in the band program who wants to march in the parade will be allowed to do so.
“We will have rehearsals and things they will have to attend. We will probably have to do some conditioning for this because it is a three- or four-mile parade and in the Fourth of July D.C. heat. You don’t just pick up an instrument and do it,” Farina said. “You’ve got to train for that one, so we will do some practices after school is out and get them ready. But anybody in the band program who wants to go is welcome to go.”
The CCHS Band Director said the plan is to make a three- or four-day trip out of the National Independence Day Parade so students can see the museums and most of what the nation’s capital has to offer. The band will work up a patriotic song to perform during the parade and perhaps a couple of other numbers as well.
Even though the parade is more than a year away, Farina said the band hopes to have the itinerary nailed down by the end of the school year so next year can be spent focusing solely on fundraising. It something that is very deserving, he said.
“There are a lot of talented kids in Carroll County,” Farina said. “We just show them what to do and they do it. A lot of credit goes to the kids for working as hard as they do.”