UPDATED: Locals to march in Tournament of Roses Parade

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Update 6:30 p.m. Thursday:

Georgetown Ridge Farm High School told us it will also have representation in the Tournament of Roses Parade.

Band Director Paige Smith said she and her father, a retired band director, will be marching in a group called the Band Director Marching Band. Smith, who will be playing the saxophone, described the group as a collection of around 300 band directors from all 50 states.

A photo of the Band Director Marching Band float. Photo provided by Paige Smith.

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Original story:

DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — Two people who work with the Salvation Army of Decatur will join other young musicians to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasedena, California, on January 1.

Samuel Laro and Santana Neal Jr. will represent the Heartland Division of the Salvation Army, of which Decatur is part. Laro is a theater student at Millikin who works with children at The Salvation Army. Santana is a student at Eisenhower High School and participates in Salvation Army music programs. Laro plays the cornet, while Neal plays the phonium.

“It’s a blessing,” Laro said of the trip. “I’m very thankful for the work of the Salvation Army throughout my life. Lots of great musicians have come trough the Salvation Army, and I hope to be one of them.”

Laro took this trip in 2016, and he said he’s looking forward to reuniting with friends. He said the Salvation Army musicians will get to take in the California sights in the days leading up to the parade. Then on the morning of January 1, it’s a 5.5 mile march in one of the biggest parades in the country. Laro said the Salvation Army musicians are expected to be on television at 10:30 a.m. CT.

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