Hundreds of Oklahomans are participating and even more will be lining the parade route today (Monday) to help celebrate the state’s centennial year by leading the 118th annual Tournament of Roses Parade.

The 2007 Tournament of Roses Parade is expected to be seen by 400 million viewers in 135 countries on nine television networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, HGTV, Tribune, Discovery HD, The Travel Channel and Univision.

The lineup includes Oklahoma's high school All Star Centennial Band, Oklahoma City University's American Spirit Dance Company, Broadway and television star Kristin Chenoweth as well as OU student and reigning Miss America 2006 Jennifer Berry.

Area students named to the band include Amy Ridgeway, trumpet, Norman High School; Ben Lewis, tenor drums, Noble High School; Brittany Russell, tenor sax, Noble High School; Chris King, cymbals, Purcell High School; Erin Raiber, trumpet, Norman North High School; Daniel Wojciechowski, snare, Brink Jr. High School; Houston Smith, alto sax, Westmoore High School; Jacob Heck, cymbal, Washington High School; Joshua Attaway, trombone, Westmoore High School; Katie Tolbert, trombone, Blanchard High School; Lauren Westbrook, piccolo, Westmoore High School; Matt Stephens, trumpet, Moore High School; Riley Robertson, mellophone, Moore High School; Ryan Buggs, tenor drums, Westmoore High School; Sarah Donica, trumpet, Noble High School; Steven Watson, trombone, Blanchard High School; Terri Bernard, trumpet, Noble High School; William Herndon, trumpet, Westmoore High School; Tyler Burkhart, trumpet, Brink Jr. High School.

The Tournament of Roses Parade opening show includes an original score and dance for the Parade's theme, “Our Good Nature,” the first-ever theme composition in its 118-year history.

“This will be the most exciting and imaginative way to introduce Oklahoma's centennial celebration to the world,” Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry said in a state centennial press release. “The Tournament of Roses Parade reaches television viewers in many countries, and it will be a wonderful way to tout some of the great attributes of our state.”

The band, conducted byu native Oklahoman and former Walt Disney World Band conductor Michael Davis, features 150 high school musicians from across the state. All auditioned for the positions and rehearsed during the summer and fall months.

Twenty dancers with Oklahoma City University's nationally acclaimed American Spirit Dance Company, will perform.

Two floats — Unique History depicting the state’s past and Oklahoma Rising looking at the future — will be entered in the parade.

Organizers said the 70-foot long Unique History float will feature an enormous Native American headdress, cascading water, a lasso twirling cowboy, a huge American bison and an oil well, all pulled by the Oklahoma-based eight horse team of Express Clydesdales.

Oklahoma celebrities riding on the Unique History float, created by Phoenix Decorating Company, include Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Bench; Olympic gold medal gymnasts Shannon Miller, Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci; Emmy Award-winning actor James Garner; Opera star Leona Mitchell; legendary music artist Patti Page; former Dallas Cowboys and three-time NCAA championship OU head coach Barry Switzer; Jack and Bill Thorpe, sons of America's greatest overall athlete Jim Thorpe; multi-Grammy Award-winning composer Jimmy Webb; ProRodeo Hall of Famer Clem McSpadden; and former Miss Americas Jane Jayroe and Susan Powell.

Representing an extraordinary future, the 55-foot long Oklahoma Rising float, with animated stars, rotating birthday cake and rotating sun kaleidoscope, depicts an unbridled excitement about a special year-long celebration. This second float recognizes Oklahoma's contributions to aerospace, arts and literature, medicine, science and sports.

Oklahoma Rising, created by Fiesta Parade Floats, will be represented by a diverse group of Oklahoma ambassadors. Riding on the float, Governor and Mrs. Brad Henry will welcome The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne, Steven Drozd, Michael Ivins and Scott Booker; astronaut John Herrington; comedian and columnist Argus Hamilton; “CSI Miami's” Rex Linn; Hollywood producer Hunt Lowry; 2006 Miss America, Jennifer Berry; “Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry; and casting agent Junie Lowry-Johnson.

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