MAKING HISTORY: Alabama School for the Blind Band to march in the Lions Club International Parade

Lions Club
Alabama School for the Blind (Bob Crisp/Alabama School for the Blind)

This Saturday, the Alabama School for the Blind (ASB) will make history. 

The school’s 25-member marching band will become the first blind high school band from the South and only the second in the nation to march at the Lions Clubs International Parade in Boston on July 8th (watch after the parade on YouTube)

Marching at the Lions Clubs’ parade is significant because the organization is known throughout the world for their work to improve the lives of the visually impaired and prevent avoidable blindness. 

2nd in the lineup & the song list

The Alabama School for the Blind, which is part of the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB)  will represent the Alabama Lions Club and is second in the parade lineup which includes 157 floats, bands and participants from the U.S. and all over the world (Parade Lineup).

The parade route in Boston begins at the Boston Common and ends at the Hynes Conventions Center. The songs the ASB band will play are:

  • Sweet Home Alabama
  • America the Beautiful
  • This is My Country
  • God Bless America 

Pioneers 

Alabama School For The Blind Marching Band
Alabama School for the Blind (Pat Byington / The Bama Buzz)

As reported by The Bama Buzz, at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, the Alabama School for the Blind Marching band became the first blind high school band in the South to march and perform a halftime show at a high school football game.  

In November, the ASB band made history again, becoming the first blind band to march in a parade at Birmingham’s annual Veterans Day Parade. 

Incredibly proud 

“I am so incredibly proud of the efforts of the students of the Alabama School for the Blind Marching Band this year,” Chad Bell, Band Director with the Alabama School for the Blind told The Bama Buzz. 

Lions Club
Alabama School for the Blind (Bob Crisp/Alabama School for the Blind)

“With each performance at venues locally, throughout the great state of Alabama, and around the country, they raise the bar pushing past difficulties to show their limitless nature. Their performances are inspirational!” added Bell.

In the past the ASB bands participated in parades riding on floats. That changed before the start of the 22-23 school year.  Last summer, the school hosted its first-ever band camp, with students up and running three miles at 5:30AM each morning. Throughout the day, students practiced marching on a track and playing their instruments at Alabama School for the Deaf football field.

The Lions Clubs International Parade is the culmination of a year-long effort.

“I am so proud of our students for their accomplishments and for being selected to represent Alabama in the Lions Club International Parade,” said John Mascia, Au.D., President, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity they will always remember, and as a Lion’s member myself, this makes me especially proud for them to have this experience. Mr. Chad Bell, the band director, and the students have worked incredibly hard to get here. I am looking forward to seeing them march in the parade and their hard work pay off.” 

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Pat Byington
Pat Byington
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