Northwestern High School Band takes part in Christmas City Parade for 65 years

Northwestern High School Band takes part in Christmas City Parade for 65 years
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 2:10 PM CST
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MAPLE, WI . (Northern News Now) - The Christmas City of the North Parade is Friday, but the Northwestern High School Band has been preparing for the parade for weeks.

The band, one of eight featured in the 2023 parade, has been a part of the holiday tradition since the beginning 65 years ago.

Seniors Citori Larson, Maya Siddiqui, Lawson Burkhart and Riley Eberhardt are preparing for their fourth parade.

“It’s just such a cool experience. It’s unlike any other thing we do in band,” Burkhart said.

“It’s really fun to think that some bands don’t do this, but we have the ability to so it’s really nice,” Siddiqui said.

Band Director Michael Hintzman has led the high school band for 30 years. He also leads the students in the parade each year.

“More people see our band at this parade than will probably see any other group of Northwestern’s throughout the entire school year, and we take that seriously,” Hintzman said. “We want to represent the school well.”

Hintzman said each parade is different for him because of the various weather conditions he has directed in.

“I’ve had parades where it’s snowed. I’ve had parade where it’s rained, where it’s sleeting, where it did all kinds of things,” Hintzman said. “Going through that as a communal event, it kind of helps bring the kids together and I think in the end, they look back on it with fondness.”

Current staff members at Northwestern High School have also participated in the parade when they were high school students.

“You always got nervous when you saw the big lights coming, when you knew you were going to be on the TV,” Northwestern High School Staff Member Allison Melde said. “That was the moment and you started to actually pay attention if you’re walking or playing, and not talking when you’re supposed to be playing.”

Melde, Jovin Kroll, Philip McGrath and Adam Helbach all played in the Northwestern High School band, participating in the parade sometime between 1996 and 2001.

“I mean having grown up around here, you’d watch it as a kid,” Helbach said. “You’d hear the song and then when you finally had the opportunity to be in it, I was pretty excited.”

“I mean it seemed like a big deal, and it is a big deal,” McGrath said. “It’s a big community thing.”

Seniors Larson, Siddiqui, Burkhart and Eberhardt said the atmosphere of the parade is one of their favorite things about the event.

“The amount of people that show up is really cool, and you’re walking through like this main tower square or environment,” Burkhart said.

“It’s really beautiful and all the lights and people cheering you on,” Siddiqui said.

Watch the Christmas City of the North Parade Friday, Nov. 17 at 6:30 p.m. on KBJR. You can also watch it in person along Superior Street in downtown Duluth.

You find out more information about the parade here.

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