After cancellations and delays, the rest of the Manatee High School marching band crew will make it to Rome in the nick of time.
A special American Airlines flight scheduled to leave from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York at 9 a.m. on Thursday and was “In Air” 35 minutes later, so the band will be together to march in the Rome New Year’s Day parade Friday and Saturday.
In the past, the band has performed at national and international venues. To get to Rome, the Manatee Marching ‘Canes had been planning and saving to march in the Rome New Year’s Day parade for three years. Students sold hams, turkeys, candles, mattresses — anything and everything to get to Rome, according to Sugar ‘Cane’s dance team member Sara Trinci.
The Manatee band and entourage would split up on two flights to get there; one group would be on a flight from Tampa on British Airways and the other 45 marching band kids, chaperones and teachers would fly from Philadelphia on American Airlines.
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Touring ruins and rehearsing with a band from Jacksonville were on the docket before the parade.
The British Airways group made it Wednesday morning. The American Airlines group, which included band director Jim Bruce and volunteer assistant band director Linda Boone, was canceled due to mechanical issues. An alternate flight from Philadelphia the next day was already full.
“What was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime has turned into a disaster,” parent volunteer Terri Bennett told the Bradenton Herald.
American Airlines provided bus transportation from Philadelphia to New York for a new flight and paid for two nights of accommodations and meal vouchers.
Many of the students didn’t have any money because they already had converted their currency into euros, the Bradenton Herald reported Wednesday.
The rest of the band is scheduled to arrive at 11:28 p.m. local time at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport, according to flight tracking information.