Dec 012011
Authors: Taylor Pettaway

Lined with strings of shining lights, members of the CSU marching band will bring a certain glow to Denver Friday night as part of the annual Parade of Lights.

In its third year playing the event, the band will lead the 37th annual parade through the downtown area, a decision Jennifer Clary attributes to recognition the band has received over the years.

“Over the past decade, the CSU Marching Band has grown into the largest marching band in the state, receiving recognition for series of innovations and ‘firsts’ for university bands,” the CSU marching band game day coordinator said in an email to the Collegian.

“In 2009, the band received national recognition from the College Band Directors National Association for contributions of excellence and creativity to the marching profession and national headlines in the publication Halftime magazine,” Clary added. “Based on the news of successful collaborations and performances, along with the increased presence of the Alumni Association in Denver, the band was selected to lead the parade as the only collegiate band to participate in the parade’s history.”

The band has been practicing the songs and street marching techniques for this event since August.

“I am very excited to play, this is my second year getting to be in the parade, and it is a lot of fun to be kicking off the parade,” said Carey Wilkening, a sophomore trumpet player. “My favorite part is hearing the crowd cheer when we go by. Everybody knows the band, and everyone loves to see us play.”

According to Clary, the Parade of Lights is the perfect opportunity for the band members to get into the holiday mood and share the spirit –– even with Fort Collins residents who weren’t planning on attending the event in Denver.

The band held a preview parade on Wednesday at the University Center for the Arts for the community to take part in. People of all ages lined Remington and Pitkin streets to watch the glowing band perform the CSU fight song and the “trombone suicide,” as well as many of the same songs they will perform on Friday.

Seven-year-old Danica Irvine and her 5-year-old brother Nathan watched on Wednesday as the 260-member band passed.

“[The best part] was watching them dance,” Danica said. “It was funny how they danced with the candy canes because they were waving them in the air.”

The Parade of Lights will be airing live on 9NEWS on Friday night, and will also be broadcasted throughout the week. The news station is estimating more than 400,000 people to attend the parade, with another 300,000 watching the event on television.

Collegian writer Taylor Pettaway can be reached at

 Posted by at 4:46 pm

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