Each year, more than 100 members of the Andrews High School band participate in a Christmas parade during the holiday season.
The Andrews High School Mighty Mustangs Band was on its way to a football game in a nearby town when a wrong-way driver slammed into the bus, killing the band director and bus driver, n a show of support that touched so many.
The Andrews High School Mighty Mustang Band was on its way to a football game in a nearby town when a wrong-way driver slammed into the bus, killing the band director and bus driver, according to the Washington Post.
Principal John Carranco said 13 of 25 students on the bus were treated at a nearby hospital, mostly with mild injuries, but they were all shaken, as well as devastated at losing their music teacher and driver.
“It’s been a painful loss for everyone,” Carranco said.
Not only did the students lose two men who were beloved to them, the crash destroyed many of their instruments. Because of that, city residents and business owners did not expect the band to participate in the Christmas parade on Dec. 3.
“With the accident so fresh on their minds, we didn’t want to put any pressure on them to march and perform this year,” said Nohemi Sanchez, Andrews Chamber of Commerce executive director.
But the Mighty Mustangs Band wanted to honor its band director and continue in the show.
When Chris Wheeler, assistant manager at Tarpley Music in Lubbock, caught wind of what was going on in Andrews (a little more than 100 miles away), he thought it’d be a good idea to reach out to band directors throughout West Texas, where the band community, regardless of being spread far and wide, is tightly knit.
“I was talking to some assistant band directors from Andrews the night after the accident to see how everyone was doing, and they shared with me that they didn’t have enough good instruments available to perform. They were thinking of backing out of the Christmas parade,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler had an idea and reached out to some other band directors.
“What if we got the students some more instruments and everybody wore Christmas attire to march with them in their town’s parade?” he said.
The answer was a resounding “we’re in.”
“I was shocked when I saw how many bands wanted to help,” Sanchez said.
Wheeler said he told them he’d take care of the planning and that they would be performing “Jingle Bell Rock.”
Instruments were delivered to Andrews from about 30 miles away two nights before the parade. They were sent with the purpose of replacing the ones lost in the crash.
Then, on Dec. 3, as thousands from towns all over lined the streets in support, dozens of school buses pulled in with band members, music teachers, band directors and instruments.
Many of the students who came from surrounding cities learned the music on their way to the parade, but you’d never know that when you hear it.
Chase Hall, who lives in Andrews and attended the parade, said the town was expecting about 1,000 students, but could not have anticipated how impactful it would have been.
“Words can’t begin to describe how amazing it was,” Hall said.
To watch the band of about 1,400 play “Jingle Bell Rock” could bring someone chills.
“Seeing all the kids from other towns, the joy they had, you could just tell they were having fun and loving what they were doing,” Hall said. “(This) is a small town, and this just brought us all even closer together.”