Blind marching band to be in 2010 Rose Parade

/ Source: The Associated Press

Students at the Ohio State School for the Blind screamed with joy when they learned their marching band will make history at the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade.

It will be the first time a blind marching band takes part in the flower-bedecked parade in Pasadena, Calif., said the school's music director, Carol Agler.

It's the only blind marching band in the whole country, she said.

Sighted assistants help band members stay in formation.

Stacy Houser, the parade's music committee chairwoman, said Monday she hopes the selection will be an inspiration to others.

There was no immediate response Tuesday to calls seeking comment from parade organizers.

The band and the rest of the student body got the news during an assembly Monday when Agler held her cell phone up to a microphone for the announcement from Gary DiSano, president of the 2010 parade. The school's students range from kindergartners to high schoolers.

Macy McClain, the band's flute and piccolo player, compared the honor to being picked for "American Idol." "Except you don't have to stand in line," she said.

The band was formed in 2005 when the football team from the neighboring Ohio School for the Deaf was looking for a band to play at its games. Band members have played in parades before, though never in anything as long as the nearly 6-mile Rose Parade, so they'll be practicing on treadmills, Agler said.

Agler said the school will need to raise an estimated $1,500 in travel costs for each person making the trip, including the 17 band members and a number of alumni to beef up their ranks.