In the stifling August heat, the sound of Christmas music fills the air near Ooltewah High School.
No, it's not a joke... It's the marching band's Wonders of Winter routine they're preparing for next week's game against Soddy Daisy.
In addition to adding musical entertainment to most football games, this band has been featured in multiple parades in the last few years, including the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. They understandably put competitions on hold to prepare for the nationally televised performances. But band members say they're ready to get back to the competition grind.
"I hope this season is the best season of my four years here," says Co-Captain Noah Cuttle. "The past two years have been spent in major parades and we haven't competed since my freshman year. So it's a lot of work to get the underclassmen in the competitive mindset."
The band's first regional competition is September 27th in Atlanta. Band Director Joel Denton says their participation in high-profile parades have set the stakes high for a successful season.
"Somewhat. It raises the stakes because we have such a legacy of excellence. We want to make sure we carry that on. But it's also an opportunity to add to that legacy and open the door for future bands to get more invitations," says Denton.
Of the 105 member band, 15 of them are seniors, who say this season will be special.
"It's really bittersweet," says senior Braden Bush. "I mean, I guess when I was a freshman I never really expected it to be a big deal, but once you become a senior, it's your last time. It's kinda hard to take in."
By: Kelsey Bagwell