Whitehall Marching Band performs for the 68th Annual Christmas Parade, despite cancellation

WHITEHALL- On Monday, Dec. 28, Whitehall Bands released a “virtual parade” video to continue the community holiday spirit while remaining under social distancing guidelines. The 68th Annual Christmas Parade, which was originally scheduled for Dec 5, was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Students from the Whitehall High School Viking Marching Band performed “Twas The Parade Before Christmas’’ arranged by Dallas Burke, individually recording themselves to be inserted into the video. Whitehall’s auditorium manager, James Willis, dealt with the technicalities of the video, taking each student’s performance and combining them into one.

“We’ve been looking for ways to be creative and have the kids perform at some level.” said Whitehall Band Director, Matt Raab. Due to COVID-19 restrictions of social distancing and masks, the marching band students experienced a different version of their season than in the past.

They were still able to perform at football games with their show, “Superheroes In Disguise,” which featured songs from Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, Captain America and The Incredibles. Unfortunately, the band’s seasonal competitions were all cancelled.

“The parade is a big performance for us every year,” said Raab, “There’s usually a couple thousand people between Whitehall and Montague that come out to see the Christmas Parade.”

On top of the parade’s cancellation, the Whitehall High School Band’s Christmas concert was also missed. According to Raab, this was a big performance for the students as well, with relatives that are normally out of town coming to see the students play.

“It was a really fun process…” said Raab, “...but it was certainly a steep learning curve.” Raab and Willis worked together to deal with the challenges that came from organizing different students’ videos into one virtual parade.

The virtual parade can be found on the Whitehall Bands Youtube channel, where it has just under one thousand views.

Without the contribution of Willis, the virtual performance would not be as smooth and successful as it was. Raab wanted to thank Willis for his many hours and dedication to the video.

Raab wanted the students to have more opportunities to showcase their hard work for the community. He said that he had seen other band directors doing similar videos, and was inspired to give his students and the community this opportunity to a parade despite the challenges.

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