COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Tension turned into relief, or something like it, in the early morning hours at John Glenn Columbus International Airport.
Last night, one of the 11 flights set to carry more than 75 Pickerington North and Pickerington Central students and chaperones to California for the Rose Parade was canceled for Friday morning, due to severe weather in Dallas. Matt Guirreri, the assistant director of bands for Pickerington North, said the cancellation could cause problems because it would be difficult to perform with only 75 percent of the band present.
Initially, Guirreri said, American Airlines said it couldn’t get them there until Sunday, which would mean they would miss a number of activities and at least one performance scheduled for Saturday night. But just before 6 a.m., he got good news.
The airline said it was able to find a bigger plane and rebook the passengers on a new direct flight to Los Angeles at 4:22 p.m. Friday.
“Well, my body temperature’s going down. I’ll say that,” Guirreri said, laughing.
Asked if he was relieved, he said, “I’ll say that when we’re on the ground. We don’t feel good until all eleven flights are on the ground, the kids are safe and we take it a step at a time.”
All around him at the airport Friday morning, students and parents waited in the pre-dawn hours to go through security and get on their flights to California.
“I took a lot of time out of my day and my life to go to the practices and practice my music and memorize all that, but I think it’s gonna be worth it,” Ryan Combs, a freshman band member, said.
His mother, Deborah Combs, said she felt choked up thinking about how proud she was of her son.
“He’s worked really hard, put in a lot of practices,” Deborah Combs said. “I don’t think he even missed one practice and so we’re just so excited he can have the experience.”
Many parents and students were thankful that all the band members would be able to make it to California for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“This is a huge honor and we want to get them there and let them enjoy what they’ve worked so hard to get to,” said parent and chaperone Lori Moore.
“Definitely long hours of hard work,” Alaina Moore, a sophomore band member, said. “In school, after school, before school, so it’s definitely been very hard, but hopefully it leads up to something really good.”
In addition to the Rose Parade, the band members will also perform at the Ronald McDonald House in Pasadena and at Bandfest, where they and other selected bands will perform their field shows. Students also said they were looking forward to visiting Disneyland.