By Steve Patterson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)  – A big part of ushering in the New Year is, of course, the Mummers’ march down Broad Street!

This year, more than 1,000 Mummers will be led by what seems the unlikeliest of troupes:  37 teenagers from Colorado.

That’s right.

Centennial, Colorado’s Arapahoe High School Marching Band has been chosen to lead the 2014 Mummers Parade.  Those who practice mummery understand that teenagers from suburban Colorado may not grasp the gravity or honor of being at the forefront of a uniquely Philly tradition, so on Monday, they took the kids to the Mummers Museum.

“We wanted a new experience,” said Band Director Shawn Funk. “I’m kind of in the same boat, it’s all very new to me.”

Funk wanted to give his students something fresh and new, so he coordinated with the South Philly organization to have his kids march.

“I want the kids to feel like it’s their event,” he said. “I just want them to have a fun time.”

The trip is exodus from recent sadness.

On December 13, Arapahoe Student Karl Pierson entered the school in Centennial, Colorado and shot classmate Claire Davis in the head before taking his own life (See Related Story).

“These are very strong people to be able to just continue through the holidays,” said Museum Director Rusty Martz.  “We hope the parade brings a little bit of merriment.”

So Monday, the band got the real deal: they dined on soft pretzels and cheesesteaks after an exclusive tour of the museum.

A uniquely Philly day for 37 special guests.