Students from Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School will get the chance to show off their musical chops at the Santa Claus Parade in downtown Toronto this Sunday.
Led by music teacher Mike Fanning, members of the school marching band, which also includes a drumline, a hip hop dance crew, a wind ensemble and a cheerleading squad, will take part in the 108th installment of the annual parade which is the longest-running of its kind in the world.
For many of the students it will be the first time they have ever performed in a parade, much less one expected to be attended by thousands, said Fanning from the Midland Avenue school.
“They obviously see it as a big deal because it’s going to be on television and it’s the hometown parade,” said Fanning who has taught at the school for two years.
“They’re very excited about it.”
This is the first time in the school’s history it has had a marching band, and enthusiasm for it has increased to the point where students who have never been involved with any music programs want to get involved, he said.
Fanning has taught in the United States where there is a more established tradition of marching bands compared to Canada, where aside from Alberta, interest is far less.
“In the U.S. marching bands go with football, so it’s a bit more involved. Being a hockey culture up here it’s a little different for us,” he said.