Windsor Optimist Youth Band in Plymouth, Mich., for 4th of July parade

The Windsor Optimist Youth Band is on assignment this 4th of July, playing in a parade in Plymouth, Mich.

Music director Mike Seguin said 40 Windsor teens are taking part in the parade.

He said it's the band's first July 4th Independence Day parade since the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In the past, we've done places like Wyandotte, Mich., as a big one, and I remember in 1988, we were asked to back up George H.W. Bush. So we were playing right behind him when he was running for president," Seguin said on Windsor Morning.

"We were selected out of 20 bands to do that, so it was kind of interesting — a Canadian band backing up George H.W. Bush. And then … in 2000 we went to Baltimore and Washington where we did four parades in one day and that was just completely crazy."

Windsor Optimist Youth Band
Seguin says the band participates in about 14 to 22 parades per year. (Windsor Optimist Youth Band/Facebook)

But he said the band managed to do it and the kids were great.

"They fought their way through the day. It was a hot 100-degree temperature, so that was interesting. In Columbus, Ohio, we did the Independence Day parade there — the red, white and boom, they call it because they have a lot of fireworks, so there's a lot of history and a lot of excitement."

'We have a pretty strong contingent'

He said the band has been preparing since January for today's parade.

"We have a pretty strong contingent and they're going to do a great job."

Rhiannon Fraser, one of the band's trombone players, is "pretty excited" about today's parade — her first in the U.S. since joining the band last fall.

"It's a lot of fun to be able to see the crowd as you're marching and see them respond to the songs, especially if you have a favourite song," she said.

Fraser also has a strategy for dealing with the heat. A high of 28 C is forecast for Thursday.

"Sometimes … if we have really thick jackets, we'll take it off if it gets too hot… We have water bottles that we'll sometimes pour down our neck and that's the best feeling in the world," she said.

Seguin said the band participates in about 14 to 22 parades per year.

He said the band will be in Essex at the Fun Fest parade this Saturday. They will also be doing a summer concert at the end of August, featuring the Beginner Band combined with their Windsor Optimist Youth Band, and will also participate in the Belle River Sunsplash parade.