Shawnee Mission North marching band surprises woman on 85th birthday with special song

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Members of the Shawnee Mission North High School marching band wrapped up their season by giving a woman a very special gift on her 85th birthday.

About a month ago, the Shawnee Mission North homecoming parade changed its route due to construction on Johnson Drive. The new route took the marching band through the neighborhood on the south side of the school, right past Blanche Williams house.

“It was gorgeous. It was beautiful,” Williams said. “I went to the middle of the yard and waved to them.”

A couple weeks later, band director Chad Reed got an unexpected note.

“We received a thank you letter from Blanche Williams, who none of us have ever met,” Williams said. “She said, ‘Thank you so much for playing in our neighborhood. It was a pleasure to hear you. By the way, I turn 85-years-old on Oct. 28. I would love to hear the band play on my birthday.'”

So, on October 28, Reed spent 10 minutes teaching the marching band the happy birthday song. Then the students hit the road, marching to Williams house to deliver her gift.

“On the way over there, we were all talking like, how is this going to work? What if she is not there? What if she is still sleeping?” trumpet player Sydney Blake said. “We were just excited because it is something new and different.”

Band members announced their presence with music, which Williams heard and stepped outside to 93 students delivering her big birthday surprise.

“They were so kind and sweet and very nice,” Williams said. “Oh my, goodness gracious, who would expect that?”

The gift returned to the students by Williams big smile and hugs for the group.

“It was just such a fun thing to do,” Blake said. “Doing something so simple as plain happy birthday to somebody and giving them a hug can make their day that much better.”

Marching band season is officially over, but the Shawnee Mission North Marching Band will pick up their instruments again in mid-July, ready to make more happiness for more neighbors.

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