Why doesn't the Neenah HS marching band participate in the Appleton Christmas Parade?

The Neenah High School Marching Band performs on North Commercial Street during the 2023 homecoming parade.
The Neenah High School Marching Band performs on North Commercial Street during the 2023 homecoming parade.

Reader question: Why doesn't the Neenah High School Marching Band ever participate in the Appleton Christmas Parade or the Appleton Flag Day Parade? Other marching bands from the area participate in these major local events, but I don't ever recall seeing Neenah.

Answer: The Neenah High School Marching Band hasn't participated in the Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade because the high school has a long-standing tradition of holding its Opener Concert on the same evening as the parade. The concert includes performances by the jazz ensembles, string ensemble and show choirs.

"Most of the band students are involved in this event in some fashion," district communications manager Jim Strick said. "The event has been held on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving for over 50 years and remains one of the primary events on the annual Neenah music calendar."

The NHS Marching Band participated in the Downtown Oshkosh Holiday Parade for three years, as it didn't conflict with the Opener Concert.

Strick said the band is committed to performing in the annual Neenah-Menasha Memorial Day Parade and opts for this parade instead of the Appleton Flag Day Parade.

The band also marches at home football games and in the annual Neenah Homecoming Parade.

Watchdog Q&A: Duke Behnke answers your local government questions

Outside the Fox Cities, the NHS Marching Band has performed at a number of big-time events over the years.

In 2009, the band traveled to New York City to perform at Times Square as part of the Band of Pride, a mass concert involving a dozen high school bands. On the same trip, it marched down Fifth Avenue as part of New York City's Veterans Day Parade.

The band also participated in NYC's Veterans Day Parade in 2003 and 2006.

Further, the band performed at the Indianapolis 500 in 2005 and was one of five high schools to join forces to play during halftime of a Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau Field in 2008.

Post-Crescent reporter Duke Behnke answers your questions about local government. Send questions to dbehnke@gannett.com or call him at 920-993-7176.

This article originally appeared on Appleton Post-Crescent: Why isn't Neenah High School band in Appleton Christmas, Flag Day parades?