Quite a sight: The Ohio State School for the Blind Marching Band

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The marching band of the Ohio State School for the Blind will be welcomed to Pasadena during a special event tomorrow morning at Phoenix Decorating.

The band will be the first comprised entirely of blind musicians to march in the Rose Parade.

Their visit is timely: Jan. 1 also marks the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act signing.

The marching band was formed in 2005, when the Ohio School for the Deaf wanted a band to play at their sporting events.

The band members memorize all their music; Some of the musicians with “perfect pitch” can identify five pitches played simultaneously on the piano.

Check out the band’s online journal and photo gallery chronicling their journey to Pasadena.

Some more facts from Pasadena Public Information Officer Ann Erdman:

  • Each band member is paired with a sighted volunteer assistant who serves as a guide by placing a hand on the musician’s shoulder. (For example, two hands on the left shoulder means turn left.)
  • Band members range in age from 13 to 18.
  • The band raised $115,000 to cover travel costs to Pasadena for 72 people – marchers, assistants and support staff.
  • The musicians practiced by marching in three community parades in Ohio and have conditioned for the 5.5-mile Rose Parade route by marching on their school’s track and throughout its campus every Tuesday and Thursday for four months.
  • The band will also perform at halftime during the Rose Bowl Game, during which they will spell out a message in Braille.
(Associated Press image: The marching band reacts to news they were chosen to participate in the Rose Parade.)

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