Homecoming parade cancelled for the ‘near future,’ Mast says

Outside+room+202%2C+an+unfinished+door+waits+for+completion.+Door+decs+have+become+part+of+the+RBHS+homecoming+tradition+since+the+addition+of+Sophomore+Advisory.+This+years+sophomores+will+be+the+first+class+not+to+have+a+high+school+homecoming+parade%2C+which+had+been+a+tradition+since+the+school+opened+in+1973.+Photo+by+Aniqa+Rahman

Outside room 202, an unfinished door waits for completion. Door decs have become part of the RBHS homecoming tradition since the addition of Sophomore Advisory. This year’s sophomores will be the first class not to have a high school homecoming parade, which had been a tradition since the school opened in 1973. Photo by Aniqa Rahman

Adam Schoelz

Outside room 202, an unfinished door waits for completion. Door decs have become part of the RBHS homecoming tradition since the addition of Sophomore Advisory. This year’s sophomores will be the first class not to have a high school homecoming parade, which had been a tradition since the school opened in 1973. Photo by Aniqa Rahman
The idea of homecoming centers around tradition, but some parts of the RBHS homecoming are changing.
The homecoming parade, which usually snakes through downtown involving bands and clubs from both RBHS and Hickman High School, is “done, at least for the near future,” RBHS athletic director Jennifer Mast said.
“There’s several reasons. One is the parade has been waning for several years, especially because of the ending of the junior high marching band programs … the parade got really short and small, and the community support on the parade was getting low,” Mast said. “That’s not the reason it was canceled this year although we have been looking at that for a couple years. There’s a tremendous amount of construction going on downtown this year. Putting a parade through the downtown was gonna be a problem.”
Assistant band director Bob Thalhuber said the cancellation of the parade came as no surprise, citing decrease community involvement as a key factor in the parade’s demise. He said although he hopes that the homecoming parade returns eventually, it’s better for the students now not to perform if the parade won’t be well attended.
“We were told there wasn’t going to be a parade,” Thalhuber said. “We weren’t shocked. Ever since the junior high school groups had to be taken out of the curriculum, we could tell that the attendance had gone down …  it wasn’t really attended well by the community and by students, so we felt that the writing could be on the wall.”
Band students aren’t particularly phased by the change, senior Jacob Freyermuth, the clarinet section leader, said. Though the homecoming parade was great for the band’s visibility and for the community to get a peek at what the marching program is doing, Freyermuth said marching in parades isn’t the program’s favorite activity, and with such a busy schedule, the end of the parade would almost be a relief.
“I think a lot of us in the band program don’t mind a whole lot because parades are something that we don’t practice very often and it’s not a huge part of what we do in class,” Freyermuth said. “What we do is harder than parade marching and also something that we enjoy more.”
Mast said the parade is not on the chopping block for just this year; with scheduling conflicts already cropping up for next year, the parade will be gone for the foreseeable future. She said she hopes the parade will come back eventually, but it will be difficult logistically with fewer home games and the addition of another high school.
Another possibility, she said, is the high schools will separate and have three different homecomings.
“Having three high schools have a schedule that makes homecoming work all on the same Friday, that’s really pushing it,” Mast said. “If we were to separate  then I would say that parades were completely out of the question. If we found a way to have all three high schools on the same weekend would be a feat, because we do football scheduling based off of what works for the football schedule and then we look for homecoming.”
For the band the ending of the homecoming parade does not mean the ending of all parades. Thalhuber said the show will go on, and the band will be out the streets ready to march, just not on homecoming Friday.
“We have a lot of parades in this town. The high school homecoming, and we have the MU homecoming parade that we do, the holiday parade that we do, and the memorial day parade,” Thalhuber said. “The community still has a chance to see us … we’re not missing anything.”
By Adam Schoelz
Additional reporting by Maddie Magruder