The Permian High School Band and Orchestra hit a weather snag on their way back to Odessa, but should now be home.
The group of a little more than 150 people, including chaperones, took a charter flight to Chicago to perform “The Star Spangled Banner” during a White Sox game Saturday and do some sightseeing and other activities.
When thunderstorms hit the region Sunday night and early Monday morning, the group wound up staying the night in the Abilene Regional Airport baggage claim area. The Miami Air Flight Crew and Greenlight Group Tours tried to get the group back to Midland, but they couldn’t.
Director of Bands Jeff Whitaker said there were 149 people on the way home because some had extended their vacations, or taken other transportation options.
About 9 a.m. Monday, busses from Ector County Independent School District were on hand to pick everyone up. Whitaker said he called Director of Transportation Roger Cleere about 2:30 a.m. Monday.
Whitaker said Cleere has gotten them out of binds many times. He wanted to make sure the drivers got enough sleep before making the trip to Abilene, so he didn’t call them right away.
“He’s a good guy,” Whitaker said of Cleere. “He didn’t even blink an eye. It was almost like he was excited he could help.”
In a social media post, Orchestra Director Todd Berridge said the Abilene Regional Airport staff and the Abilene Police Department stayed with the group and even set up cots.
Berridge wrote that the City of Abilene also provided Shipley Do-Nuts.
And Whitaker said the restaurant upstairs opened and fed everyone at no charge.