Richardson, a drummer, is the son of the Kelli and Shawn Richardson. He is a member of the Portsmouth Community Orchestra and has performed with the Scioto County Honors Band for three years. He is also drumline captain for the South Webster High School Marching Band.
When the Macy’s Great American Marching Band opened auditions for students from more than 14,000 high schools in the United States, Richardson decided to give it a shot and sent in his tape. He said he couldn’t believe it when he was accepted. He was even more surprised to find out he is one of only two students, so far, chosen to participate from Ohio.
There are 200 student members of the Macy’s Great American Marching Band traveling from all over the United States.
“He’s a very accomplished percussionist and this is a great opportunity for his advancement. I know he wants to go into music, and playing with the orchestra gives him a chance to play outside of his school. We’re real pleased that he has been named to that,” said Carl Daehler, director of the Portsmouth Community Orchestra.
Richardson’s band director, Ryan Ervin, was equally impressed by the young student’s accomplishment but he was not incredibly surprised. He said Mitchell has always been a talented and accomplished musician.
“He’s worked very hard over the last couple of years to get where he is right now. He’s already set his mind toward going into music and he’s got a lot of great things going for him,” Ervin said.
The school has always had a parade marching band, but Ervin said this is the first year that South Webster has had a competitive marching show band. The band still doesn’t have a field, so they practice behind the South Webster Library. Now they’re competing in band competitions and have already taken home a few awards.
Mitchell’s mother, Kelli Richardson, said she’s also proud and excited for her son.
“I am ecstatic. When I told Mr. Ervin on the phone, I was literally screaming. We never imagined. I mean, you always think about it, but the opportunities that this brings are going to be amazing,”
The trip will cost $1,500 for travel, lodging and uniforms, and there will be a series of local community fundraisers this summer to help collect the money. His family and friends will join him in New York City, but the money collected is for Mitchell only and the others will have to pay their way. They will arrive the Saturday before Thanksgiving (Nov. 19) for a uniform fitting, and enjoy nearly a week of activities and sight-seeing around his rehearsal schedule.
Richardson said he visited New York City for the first time last year with the Shawnee State University Upward Bound program. His mother, grandmother and brother also went with them. He’s looking forward to visiting “The Big Apple” once again. His mom said she hopes they can all see a Broadway show together.
Richardson said he would like to study music at The Ohio State University in Columbus to participate in their marching band program. He said he would like to be a music teacher, just like Mr. Ervin.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235, or firstname.lastname@example.org.