By Richard Payerchin, The Morning Journal
The Lorain High School Titans Marching Band will make a trip to Chicago to march in that city’s annual Puerto Rican day parade.
This year will mark the 40th anniversary of the Puerto Rican People’s Parade in Chicago.
It will take place at 2 p.m., June 16.
Many of the band’s 120 members are expected to go, said Tim Sivik, Lorain High School band director, and Jaime Lopez, vice president of the Lorain High Band Boosters.
“We want to make the school look good and the city look good,” said Lopez, an Admiral King High School band alumnus and father of two Lorain High band members.
Along with area festivals and events, the Lorain High band is not entirely new to traveling for parades that draw thousands in attendance and millions in viewers via television.
The band has traveled to Chicago before, marching in the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival parade, but never for the Puerto Rican parade.
Last fall, the band traveled to Detroit for America’s Thanksgiving Parade, one of the largest in the nation.
In June 2017, the Titans went to New York for the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, which included a tribute to the Puerto Rican communities in Lorain and Cleveland.
“They were blown away by the New York trip,” Sivik said about the students. “They still talk about it. They had a great time.”
The parade brought out thousands of people with Puerto Rican flags and dress, he said.
The route was long and the day was hot, so the students got a workout, Sivik said, but they enjoyed it.
In the days before the Chicago parade, some Lorain students will participate in the Latin Jazz Music Camp of the Roberto Ocasio Foundation in Cleveland.
They will be able to finish participating because the Lorain High band trip likely will start when the band leaves by bus early the morning of June 16.
Students, staff and parents will stay overnight for sightseeing June 16 and 17, then return home late June 17, Sivik and Lopez said.
The band students and boosters will have fundraisers leading up to the trip, they said.
The Chicago trip likely is cheaper than the New York adventure because it involves just one night of lodging and food, Sivik said.
“The kids like the Chicago-style pizza, so we’ll probably do that,” he added.
For the size of the school, Lorain could field a larger band, Lopez said.
Parents and band boosters would like to see music education expand into lower grades so more children are ready to participate in high school, he said.
The marching band students get travel opportunities that might not otherwise be available for Lorain youths because the city still has economic challenges, Lopez said.
“Some of these kids, they’ll never get an experience like this again,” he said. “You want to remember band forever. If you play four years and you give it your all, you’re going places.”
The band supporters maintain a Facebook page under Lorain High School Band and Orchestra Boosters.