Rat-a-tat-tat, listen to the band!

Jaycees Christmas Parade fills streets with holiday spirit

From the floats, other parade units, horses and crowds of on-lookers, a parade doesn’t happen without cooperation. The Maryville/Alcoa Jaycees Christmas Parade had a nugget of unusual cooperation hidden in its ranks on Saturday.

For the first time, the Maryville High School, Alcoa High School and William Blount High School marching bands marched as one unit, practicing separately and then coming together on parade day to form one large band.

George Hayden, assistant band director at Maryville High School, said this was the first time all three bands have pooled their musicians and marched as one band.

“It’s been a great collaborative effort. We all practiced the same music, and then we put the bands together at 10 this morning,” he said.

Hayden said that while each band practiced the same music, the horns, woodwinds and brass couldn’t all perform the entire route and routinely took breaks to rest their lips. That was when each band’s percussion section helped, he said.

“Each percussion section uses a different cadence, so they took turns,” Hayden said.

Heritage High School’s band opted to perform in the Townsend Parade a week earlier so they were not available to join their neighboring schools for the Maryville parade.

The parade drew a crowd to the sidewalks and streets along the parade route. Floats, cars, politicians, twirlers, churches and horses call waved and threw candy to the crowds. Santa and Mrs. Claus also made an appearance.

Mike McQueen and Leanne Moe enjoyed the day with their 4-year-old daughter, Ollie, and Moe’s parents, Dawn and Lyle Moe.

“We come out because Ollie wants to get candy, and you can’t beat a good parade,” Leanne Moe said.

Jamie Ott of Maryville said he and his wife, Diane, and their children Tyler, 14, and Kim, 16, were on hand to enjoy the festivities.

Steve Kaufman, owner of The Palace Theater, said the parade is an event his family anticipates each year. “Every year, we open The Palace because people usually need the hot chocolate,” he said.

Gary Mullins of Friendsville said the parade starts the holidays for him. “It kicks off the Christmas season,” he said. “It’s great weather, great people and a great place to be,” he said as his daughter, Kristin Blackberg, watched her own daughter Morgan enjoy the parade. “I love to see my daughter smile,” she said.

Cozette Howard of Alcoa said she comes to see her grandchildren enjoy the parade. “Everybody loves a parade. I just think it gets you in the Christmas spirit,” she said. “I think the best part is the antique tractors.”

Scott Dickinson said his 16-year-old son was in the parade marching with the Alcoa High School Band. “This parade is extremely important,” he said. “It’s all about community spirit.”

Emily Winsauer the Saturday of the Maryville/Alcoa Jaycees Christmas parade is her favorite day to work at Tomato Head. Deborah Parker of Alcoa took in the parade standing across from Maryville Municipal Building with several other women. “I like everything about a parade,” she said. “It just gets you in the spirit of the holidays,” she said.

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