Three local bands to march as one in Kingsport parade

J. H. Osborne • Jul 3, 2017 at 11:45 AM

KINGSPORT — In a first, members of the Dobyns-Bennett, Sullivan North and Sullivan South bands will march and perform together during the 64th annual Kingsport Mack Riddle American Legion Independence Day Parade on Tuesday.

The bands will perform as one unit of about 400 high school students, marching and playing “I Get a Kick Out of Kingsport.” The song  was written by Wally Boyd Jr. in 1989.

“It’s a celebration of the centennial. We thought it would be neat to do that,” D-B band director Lafe Cook said Saturday. The joint effort was set in motion a week or so ago, Cook said,  when he and South band director Kenneth Carrico were talking and Carrico said the South band was playing the Boyd song.

Asked if this was the first such joint performance of the three schools, Cook said it was in his 20 years at D-B.

“It’s never been done for the Fourth of July parade,” Cook said. He said Fun Fest parades have had performances by combining local bands but that D-B hasn’t participated.

The four Sullivan County bands, from South, North, Central and East high schools, last year produced a joint audition tape to perform at the presidential inaugural parade but were not chosen.

Cook said there are lyrics to Boyd’s song, but the bands will not sing them.

The parade, hosted by the Kingsport Chamber and its Leadership Kingsport program, is sponsored by AtWork Professional Services and Mama’s House Buffet.

“The Mack Riddle American Legion Independence Day Parade is a great tradition and important event for this community,” Kingsport Chamber President and CEO Miles Burdine said. “It is great to see the way our community joins together as we celebrate our freedom and honor those who serve and sacrifice for our country.”

Each year the Kingsport Chamber chooses an individual who has gone above and beyond for the greater Kingsport community to serve as grand marshal.

Mamie Riddle is grand marshal this year. The widow of Mack Riddle, who served as the chairman of the Fourth of July Parade for many years, Mamie played an instrumental, behind-the-scenes role with helping the parade come to life every year and continues to share stories of her many great times on the parade route.

“We are honored to have Mamie serve as our grand marshal this year. She is a delight and highlights community spirit,” said Vanessa Bennett, Kingsport Chamber director of operations and Leadership Kingsport programs.

The parade begins at 10 a.m. in front of the Kingsport Renaissance Center on Center Street. It ends in front of the Kingsport Veterans Memorial on Fort Henry Drive.

Staff Writer Rick Wagner contributed to this report.

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