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Letter: No Local School Bands in Irish Parade

One of the parade organizers says Plainfield School District 202 marching bands are invited every year to perform but always say no.

For those lucky thousands of people who happened to be in downtown Plainfield on Sunday, the “luck of the Irish” was with you. What wasn’t with you, however, was representation from all our wonderful Plainfield school bands in the .

Providence Catholic High School Band from New Lenox was the band that participated. Plainfield schools do not perform in the Irish Parade.                  

I am one of three parade chairmen who try every year to make this one of the best Irish parades in the area. We have the most wonderful support from the village board and from the police, fire and village public works departments, but we can’t seem to convince the board that this parade is important and a part this community. 

Plainfield's homecoming parade in the fall, in which Plainfield bands do perform, is about schools and who in town went where and with who and in what year. The Irish Parade is about families, community and the magic of being green and “Irish” for a day.  

I was not born in ; I have only been in Plainfield for eight years. I have become part of this town by being involved in the wonderful programs it has to offer, getting to know the many wonderful people who are part of this community and spending numerous hours and days every year with my two friends and co-chairmen for the Hometown Irish Parade.

We have made numerous requests, through a multitude of different people, to seek involvement of the schools' bands in this event, only to receive answers of “no" or “we’ll get back to you.”

I hope that if you are part of one of the many school bands, you at least came to the parade to be “Irish for a Day” and to enjoy a wonderful event. 

I was humbled during Sunday's parade to who came out to support and enjoy this wonderful event, “but where are the Plainfield schools?”

Since we have a year before our next parade, we formally invite the school bands from our community to participate next year and be green and Irish for a day. Help us make this the best Irish parade possible for our community. 

Please check out our web site at plainfieldirishparade.org. And let’s talk about next year.

Dan Cassidy, Plainfield Hometown Irish Parade chairman

billy March 15, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Dan, I understand your concern. I also commend you for the countless hours the committee invests in planning this event. I think the invite to the schools is sufficient enough. They may believe homecoming is enough. With all the schools and bands, how would they decide which band is to participate? I think your focus on the actual intent of the parade is more important. With 3 parades a year, we should focus on making them different from each other. Also consider lengthening the route or rerouting to prevent the beginning of the parade running into the middle of the parade (commercial and James) also the lack of public restrooms was a major issue. Overall a job very well done. A great success.
Ray March 15, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Nice parade, I enjoyed it immensly. I also enjoy knowing that since district 202 is broke and cutting teachers, teachers aids, Deans, misc staff, etc. that they have the common sense not to spend the money it would rquire to participate in this particular parade. It is not school related and therefore not neccessary and in my opinion would have been fiscally irresponsible to have participated in it.
An observer March 15, 2012 at 07:58 PM
I disagree with the earlier comments regarding the lack of district bands in the Irish parade. Participating in such a high visibility event provides wonderful exposure for not only the band, but also for the entire school district for a relatively small financial investment. For Plainfield residents attending the parade it provides positive visible evidence of tax dollars at work. Community support for schools is critical in times where money is tight. For many residents this might be the only contact with a district program, especially if they don't have school-age children. For visitors to Plainfield a positive experience with a school district band and community pride makes Plainfield an attractive place to raise a family. People who attend the Irish parade may never attend the Homecoming parade if they didn't attend Plainfield HS. This parade showcases the whole community, including the schools. It is not just a celebration of Irish heritage. As to the concern about having to choose which band to participate, could there be a rotation through the years ,among the parades so as to showcase all of bands?
Becca March 15, 2012 at 09:26 PM
The band directors and students put many long hours into getting ready for each event that they participate in. In October, the bands are in full "Marching Band" mode and are rehearsing outdoors specifically for this purpose. They compete and are successful in the fall with their marching curriculum. However, the Spring semester is set aside for "Concert Band" performances and competitions. To add a marching performance in during a concert season is time consuming and counter-productive to the goals of the directors and programs. Each of the high schools puts on amazing concerts throughout the school year that are free of cost and open to the public. I invite you to attend one. You won't be disappointed! In addition to the concert band season, these directors and students are beginning the long process of putting together a Spring Musical. This is a lot of work that takes hundreds of hours to make a successful and high quality show. Again, the public is invited to see these performances although this is for a minimal cost. Parades are fun, and I enjoy seeing bands marching in them, but this is only one small part of what our students are participating in. Take some time to see the magnitude of what our band directors are offering before judging their decisions.
Cathy March 15, 2012 at 09:37 PM
We are not judging the band directors or their decisions we are just looking for some type of participation from our schools whether it be one of the high school bands or one of the junior high bands. Send the drum line any participation is better than none. The more the merrier its just a shame that we had no Plainfield bands...glad Providence was able to join in.

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