Concord takes Hollywood

Nov. 25—ELKHART — And they're off. Concord Community School's Marching Minutemen are off to march in the Hollywood Christmas Parade this Sunday. With special celebrity hosts and grand marshal Danny Trejo, the 90th anniversary of the parade is a first for many of the high school's band members, but not something they're likely to forget soon.

"They're really excited about it. Some of them, due to the pandemic really haven't done much traveling and this is their first chance to get to do it again," said band director Scott Spradling said. "I know from everything I'm hearing that people are really excited about going."

For such an expensive trip, the band tries to ensure that students get their money's worth of enrichment activities, including the Griffith Observatory.

"It's expensive to travel anyway so we try to reduce the costs in any way we can," Spradling said. "

Right off the plane, they'll begin sightseeing in Hollywood including Grauman's Chinese Theater and Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame. On Saturday, they'll take a trip to Universal Studios in Los Angeles, and Sunday, they'll visit Venice Beach before finally marching in the parade. On Monday, the adventures continue, with a trip to Disneyland and California Adventure.

"It's a jam-packed trip," Spradling said. "We tell the students this is not a relaxation trip where you're going to sit in the hotel sipping Diet Coke all afternoon. We're going to see everything we can see, one thing right after another."

For Concord's band, nearly half of the band members have never flown before, and Spradling added that only a handful had been to California at all.

"If we're going someplace like that, you want to try to take in as much as you can," he said. "A lot of the kids have never seen the Pacific Ocean. These are real-life experiences that they can say they were there. ... Full sensory is the way we set up these trips so they can get their money's worth and experience as many things as they can because in some cases it may be one of the few times they ever get to do something like that."

The last time the band was able to travel for a show, they went to the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia in 2017. Since the seniors in the class of 2022 never had the opportunity to travel as a band, they were taken to Disney over spring break. The kids in the band today weren't a part of the band during either of those experiences, but Spradling said they like to vary the climates, cold to hot, whenever possible.

The Hollywood Christmas Parade will be at 9 p.m. (6 p.m. PST) Sunday. For those that can't attend, the CW will air a recorded version of the parade at a date to be determined later.

Dani Messick is the education and entertainment reporter for The Goshen News. She can be reached at or at 574-538-2065.