If there's one thing you can count on in West Texas, it's your neighbors. When things go well, towns across the area congratulate each other with a sense of pride. And when tragedy strikes, folks show up to help.

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That sense of community and neighborly hospitality wasn't missing during the annual Christmas parade on December 3 in Andrews, which is about 35 miles north of Odessa, Texas. The Andrews ISD Mighty Mustang Band had suffered the loss of director Darin Johns and bus driver Mark Boswell in a fiery bus crash on the way to a playoff game in Sweetwater just two weeks earlier (November 19).

Darin Johns was an Abilene native who directed bands at Franklin Middle School, Jim Ned High School, Ballinger High School, and Colorado City High School prior to serving in Andrews.

When Andrews considered canceling the parade in lieu of asking the band to perform, Colorado City and other area bands stepped in to march in the parade and show the town some much-appreciated support. And boy howdy... did they show up.

You can watch students from 33 West Texas area bands march through downtown Andrews in support of the Mighty Mustang Band in the video below. Skip ahead to the 34-minute mark to hear their festive, heartwarming take on the Christmas classic 'Jingle Bell Rock':

The Sweetwater and Big Spring marching bands had previously stepped up to play in Andrews' stead at the playoff game after the crash.

As a former Andrews Mustang myself, it's times like these that make me appreciate how West Texans work together for the good of each other and their students. In addition to the Colorado City Band, these school districts and their respective bands deserve recognition for donating their time and hearts:

  • Greenwood ISD
  • Stanton ISD
  • Lubbock-Cooper High School
  • Lubbock High School
  • Lamesa ISD
  • Plains ISD
  • Littlefield ISD
  • Denver City ISD
  • Olton ISD
  • Bovina ISD
  • Seagraves ISD
  • Springlake-Earth ISD
  • Ralls ISD
  • Tahoka ISD
  • Sundown ISD
  • Frenship ISD
  • Muleshoe ISD
  • Seminole ISD
  • BRowndfield ISD
  • Smyer ISD
  • McCamey ISD
  • Shallowater ISD
  • Lubbock Christian School (Lubbock)
  • Monahans/Wickett/Pyote ISD
  • Compass Academy (Odessa)
  • Odessa High School
  • Permian High School (Odessa)
  • Farewell ISD
  • Plainview ISD

Go Mustangs.

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