Weather strands Legend band

Trip lasted five days longer than expected

Posted 1/7/14

The Legend High School band was among the thousands of travelers stranded by a winter storm that slammed the East Coast.

More than 70 teens and chaperones were scheduled to return home from Florida on Jan. 2 when the cold, snowy conditions put a …

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Weather strands Legend band

Trip lasted five days longer than expected

Posted

The Legend High School band was among the thousands of travelers stranded by a winter storm that slammed the East Coast.

More than 70 teens and chaperones were scheduled to return home from Florida on Jan. 2 when the cold, snowy conditions put a major kink in their travel plans. A day earlier the band played during the halftime show at the Gator Bowl.

The school district and parents scrambled to find hotel rooms as temperatures dipped to 40 degrees in Jacksonville. Because the trip was “a little longer than they were expecting,” some students did not bring enough money or prescription medication, posing yet another challenge, said principal Corey Wise.

The group considered chartering a bus to get back to Colorado, but that could have led to “more headaches” because of treacherous roadways in the central states, he said.

“We didn’t want to get in a `Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ situation,” Wise said, referring the 1987 film in which two men, confronted with blizzard conditions that inhibit travel, struggle through obstacle after obstacle to reach their destination.

The school kept concerned parents informed through various means, including its website.

“They have returned to their hotel for the night, the students are safe and have been fed,” band director Orlando Otis said in one message.

The group was scheduled to arrive at Denver International Airport on four separate flights Jan. 7, five days later than expected.

Calling from an airport in Nashville Jan. 7, Otis said he and the remaining nine students were delayed once again during a scheduled layover.

“We’re starting to get a little déjà vu, but we’re doing well, we’re holding up,” he said. “The kids are excited and obviously anxious to get home, but they’re doing a fantastic job of holding it all together.”

By most accounts, the trip was not a total disaster. The band received the overall first-place award in the 1A class of the 2014 Gator Bowl Parade competition. The band won best drum major, first-place music, first-place marching and first-place general effect.

“They represented very well,” Wise said.

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