Brrrrringing the music: Columbine High band a colorful addition to frosty Parade of Lights

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By Matt Gunn

Santa Claus, like the post office, doesnt let rain nor sleet nor dark of night keep him from his appointed holiday rounds. And a little cold weather didnt stop the Columbine High School marching band from escorting the ecstatic elf during Denvers Parade of Lights.

The Rebels band performed admirably in Rudolphs absence Friday and Saturday, guiding St. Nick through the downtown parade to the tune of Here Comes Santa Claus.

We feel very honored, said Christina Simpson, one of the bands drum majors.

Simpson helped put together the bands costumes blue and white smocks decorated with snowflakes and about 40 blue LED Christmas lights.

The opportunity to be here is amazing, so its fun to help, Simpson said.

A group of parents, staff and some band members had prepared since mid-October. And even though the regular marching band season ended more than a month ago, the chance to march in front of thousands of festive parade-goers in Denver kept the musicians focused.

It just sort of wraps up my four years in band, pretty much, said Adam Davis, a senior drum major who ended his high school marching band career with the Parade of Lights.

The parade route began in front of the freshly lit Denver City and County Building at 1435 Bannock St., then continued through downtown before completing a loop of more than 2 miles.

It was fun, but of course very tiring for us, said Zane Coppedge.

Coppedge, a senior who plays bass drum, said it was similar to other parades, with one big difference.

Usually were used to a very steady crowd of peers and parents, he said. This crowds just out here in the cold having fun.

The walls of cheerful spectators that lined the entire parade route grew especially excited as Columbine ushered in Santa. And the Rebels were nearly as noticeable as the jolly elf with the array of lights adorning each uniform.

Greg Morris, a parent who helped the band with the application process and parade organization, wanted to make sure the bands extra attire was comfortable and easy to march in. But the snowflakes and lights brought some interesting reactions when band members first saw the finished product last Tuesday.

It was the first time theyd seen the completed project, and it was like, Im going to wear this? Morris said.

The fleece smocks and long march served another purpose over the chilly weekend: They helped keep the band warm.

The freezing temperature wasnt as big a factor as some would have thought.

No, actually not, Coppedge said. Wearing these uniforms, Im burning up.

The bands excitement at being part of the longtime Denver holiday tradition didnt hurt either.

Though Columbine hadnt marched in the Parade of Lights for several years, the band placed third overall. Arapahoe High School, which won last year, finished second this season. Legacy High School, which won the state 5A marching band championship, also won top honors at the Parade of Lights.

Brittany DiGiorgio, a senior drum major with the Rebels, said the Parade of Lights was an appropriate event to finish her high school marching career.

Its kind of sad, but its a good last memory to have, she said.