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Niceville High School Band invited to march in the 2024 Rose Parade

This will be the 3rd time that the Niceville Band will have the honor of participating in the Rose Parade.

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On Friday morning, Niceville High School band students piled into the auditorium at the school for an unexpected announcement. They were joined by 8th grade band students from Lewis and Ruckel Middle Schools.

  • Also in attendance was Superintendent Marcus Chambers and School Board Member Dr. Diane Kelley. They were all there for a big announcement from Niceville’s Director of Bands, Dan Wooten. 

After a brief introduction from Principal Charlie Marello, Mr. Wooten turned the student’s attention to the big screen for a short video put together by Assistant Director Matt Tenore. 

The video chronicled the history of the Niceville Band program and highlighted standout moments including a trip to the Macy’s Parade in 2012, along with the Rose Parade in 2008 and 2017. 

The video concludes with the surprise announcement that they have been invited to march in the 2024 Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California on New Year’s Day.

Watch the student’s reaction below:

Knowing there were Seniors in the room, Wooten asked each one of them to stand. 

“We wouldn’t get this invitation were it not for this group of people who suffered through COVID and all the other things that have happened to them in the last four years,” he said. “They are not going to get to do this with us, but they will be there with us in spirit and we owe them a huge round of applause.”

Wooten said that he and his team got the confirmation on Wednesday this week. He played the video conference call to show his student’s his reaction the moment he found out saying he didn’t expect the announcement during his video call. 

This will be the 3rd time that the Niceville Band will have the honor of participating in the Rose Parade. This time it will mean even more due to the fact that Wooten’s daughter will be a freshman in the band, along with Principal Marello’s daughter being a sophomore.

Since 1890, the Tournament of Roses has produced America’s New Year Celebration, bringing the traditions of the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game to Pasadena and the world for nearly 130 years.

  • “This is going to be a really big trip and all of you are going with us,” said Wooten to the students.
(left) Principal Charlie Marello and Director of Bands Dan Wooten (right)

With 1 million people on the parade route and 30 million viewers through various broadcast outlets, it’s a big deal for Niceville High School and the Okaloosa County School District.

Now in his 7th year at Niceville, Principal Marello reflected on the many great things that have happened at the school

“I have been a part of experiencing some very cool things here,” he told the students. “From state championships to finishing in the top 5% in the entire country in academic performance in regards to accelerator programs. But I have not done anything that moved me emotionally like the 2017 Rose Parade.”

  • “When you’re in those stands with a huge group of Niceville supporters and see Eagle Pride turn that corner and come marching in front of us amongst the 1 million people there, it’s an incredible experience,” said Marello. “To know that we get to do that again is phenomenal.”

As a huge advocate and continued supporter of the band programs across Okaloosa County, Superintendent Marcus Chambers was beaming with pride. 

“When you look at band programs across Okaloosa County, our high school programs rival college bands,” said Chambers to the students. “That’s how awesome you all are!”

Chambers, too, reflected on the 2017 Rose Parade describing it as “an opportunity of a lifetime.”

“Not only are you going to have an amazing experience in the parade, but it’s the places that you’re going to see and the dinners you will have,” he said. “It’s the friendships that you’re going to experience and it brings you even closer as a band.”

(left) Superintendent Marcus Chambers, Principal Charlie Marello, School Board Member Dr. Diane Kelley, Director of Bands Dan Wooten, Assistant Director of Bands Matt Tenore, Assistant Director of Bands Morgan Molina (right)

“This is an absolutely big deal for the City of Niceville but it’s also a big deal for the Okaloosa County School District,” he said. “We could not be more proud of Mr. Wooten and is a testament to the band program. The majority of bands across the nation do not get these experiences so this is something to be extremely proud of.”

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This local coverage is made possible thanks to Realtor Lisa A. Norton! Support those who support our local news coverage!

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