HOUSTON - For thirteen years in a row, The Stephen F. Austin High School band has been marching in the Thanksgiving Day parade, and this year, they’re leading it.
For a band, who, just thirteen years ago, was non-existent, this parade, is an honor. With every step, and with every beat, there’s practice, precision and passion.
"It took a whole lot of patience, a whole lot of prayer," said Music Director Keavon Runnels.
It’s a band with heart, a symphony with soul, and some kids with a little style.
The Stephen F. Austin High School Band made their Thanksgiving Day parade debut back in 2005, the same year that marked their beginning.
“One of the first performances that we’ve done as a whole band was the Thanksgiving Day Parade," Runnels said.
They call themselves "Sonic Boom" - a loud or explosive noise caused by a shock wave. But that first year, maybe not so much.
“And I honestly think they chose us by accident because that first year, we only had about 13 or 14 kids. You could barely hear us walking down the street," Runnels said.
For Runnels, 2005 was a big year - his first year on the job, and as music director, it was an unexpected surprise.
“Thirteen years ago when I got here, there was no band," Runnels said.
A band director with no band only has one option:
“I started recruiting, walked all over the neighborhood, passing out flyers," Runnels said.
So from scratch, the band was built by the hands of Mr. Runnels.
“It’s in our title, we’re the best band in America," Junior Naila Jimenez said.
And today, the proof is on the walls.
“We’ve won countless awards since then," Runnels said.
There’s no question of why they were chosen, and there’s no doubt that this year, they’ll be heard.
They're leading the parade for the third year in a row as those countless days and endless hours of practice have finally paid off.
“Hard work, perseverance, dedication and sound character, that’s what does it," Runnels said.
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