Homewood Patriot Band recalls leading 2022 Rose Parade

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HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WIAT) — If you tuned into this year’s Rose Parade, you may have seen some familiar faces.

For the fifth time in program history, the Homewood High School Patriot Marching Band participated in the annual Rose Parade, this time leading the procession.

“When you’re first, mile five or mile one, they’re expecting to see greatness,” Patriot Band Director Chris Cooper said. “We really had to pump them up at mile five. Our kids, man – they stepped up.”

Over four hundred members of the bands traveled from Birmingham to Los Angeles to be part of the American tradition, becoming the first high school band to ever lead the New Year’s Day parade.

“We had some folks come up to us and say, ‘Hey you’re the first high school band to ever lead the Rose Parade,’” Cooper said. “That made it pretty special for our kids.”

Seniors on the band have seen the Patriot Marching Band program grow from a group without a performance space to now having equal space as other Patriot Athletics programs. Christopher Steele is one of those seniors and said they earned that growth and proved it out in the streets of Los Angeles.

“What makes the band so special to me is the many quirks and idiosyncrasies of all the sections and everyone,” Steele, a trombone player, described. A” lot of bands don’t have that. We have a lot of tradition that we don’t shy away from. I think that’s why they keep having us back.”

Members of the band say it was a trip they’ll never forget with folks they’ll always remember.

“This is a huge family,” Bailey Levering, Senior Piccolo player said. “We’re all so close and we love each other so much. I love the band. They were both incredible experiences and I’m never going to forget them.”

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