Rector Christmas Parade at Hand

Thursday, December 7, 2017

“Come on, weatherman, give us a forecast snowy white!” Singer Amy Grant would not be too far afield in her request for this Thursday evening, Dec 7, when predictions call for the day’s high to climb only to 47 and the evening low plummeting to 23 degrees.

Bundling up for cold weather in coats, jackets, gloves, hats and blankets should prove to be just the thing to do to watch this year’s Christmas Parade in Rector. The annual parade, followed by the traditional reception at the community center, is set to roll through the streets of the city beginning at 6 p.m.

And, for this year's holiday offering, a group of truly Grand Marshals will have the chance to lead this year’s parade—the Rector Cougar Marching Band. A source of pride for parents, the school, and the community, Rector’s Marching Band is the proud holder of this year's Division A State Championship.

Having achieved a goal that’s been years in the making, band director Daniel VanAalsburg inspired a group of 39 individual musicians to form a cohesive team, or family, as the band parents mention. The Cougar Band rose to the occasion, gradually earning accolades for their continued growth. They soared to heights they once believed impossible. The band’s belief in themselves encouraged them to work harder, work together, and reach for greatness.

Winning marching contests was not something that came easy. Playing music with passion and accuracy is one thing. Add marching in a choreographed show in area and state contests for scores, trophies, and accolades become another thing, altogether.

Four seniors have led the way by encouraging those around them to keep working for excellence. Jarek Ellis, Andrew Garron, Zephyr Tinsley and Rahcel Walker are excited about the current band status, and are thrilled to leave the band with potential for more accomplishments. The band is comprised mostly of seventh through ninth graders, with upper classmen ready to take the lead.

During the 2017 marching season, the RHS band earned excellent rating at the Mid-South Marching Classic. At the Paragould McDonalds Invitational, they were rated excellent, earned second place for drum major, superior rating for colorguard, first in colorguard, first for percussion, and third in music for the Red Divion, were Grand Champions in AA-1, and eighth place overall. At the Arkansas Open at ASU, they were rated excellent, took third in AA-1 percussion, second in AA-1 colorguard, and third in AA overall. In regional assessments, the band earned a superior rating, qualifying them for the state marching competition.

At the state competition at War Memorial Stadium, they earned the highest music score for Division A, highest visual score, and were crowned as Grand Champions.

The Cougar Marching Band, as Grand Marshals, will lead the parade which begins at the corner of Main and 3rd Streets and ends at the Rector Community Center. Consisting of several floats and groups of participants, the parade is an annual treat sponsored by the Rector Chamber of Commerce.

“People, groups, and floats prepared to participate in the parade need to be at the line-up between 5:30 and 5:45 so the parade can begin on time, at 6 p.m.” parade chairperson, Cathy Manning said.

A prize for the first place float winner will be provided by the Rector Chamber, according to spokesperson Kim Romine.

At the parade conclusion, citizens are invited to gather inside the community center for a cup of hot chocolate and a visit with Santa. Rector Mayor Teresa Roofe will make opening remarks to the crowd gathered in the Crockett Multi-Purpose Room. Performances by the band and school choir, directed by Melinda VanAalsburg, will provide this year's live entertainment.

The public is cordially invited to attend the parade, and reception, as Rector officially welcomes the holiday season.

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