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Insider impressions of the Rose Parade

Posted: January 6, 2009 9:21 p.m.
Updated: January 7, 2009 4:30 a.m.

My experience with the Pasadena City College honor band is something I will never forget. The honor band consisted of more than 200 talented musicians and performers.

Auditions for high school students to join the college honor band took place last October. The procedure consisted of performing our chromatic scale, memorizing 12 major scales, reciting a short etude, in addition to sight-reading.

Within a week, we received a letter in the mail with our results. I remember the night I received mine. I had just come home from marching band practice at West Ranch High School.

Music rehearsals started Nov. 1 and took place every Sunday for several hours. As New Year's Day approached, in the middle of December, the pace started to pick up and we practiced more. From Dec. 26 through New Year's Day, we practiced every day. We also performed at Disneyland and at a band exhibition, called Bandfest, which featured all the bands to perform in the Rose Parade.

At times I felt exhausted, but with the support of my fellow musicians and the band staff, we accomplished our goals. I also felt privileged to have a friend, Zachary Christy (also from West Ranch High School) in the parade with me.

The experience of practicing and performing with such a diverse group of college and high school students was never ending.

Finally, the morning of Jan. 1 arrived - our call time was 4 a.m. Before the parade, I got a chance to observe the crowds of people in the stands and along the sidewalks; the adrenaline started flowing.

Nothing can compare to the feelings when we turned the corner onto Colorado Boulevard. There were more than 1 million people there. The parade was only about six miles long - but it felt longer. I almost ran out of breath a few times, but the cheering never stopped and kept me going.

The underpass was probably one of my favorite parts, since the echo and reverberation of our music sounded much louder.

Once we reached the end, I felt a big sigh of relief, but also some sadness (mixed with fatigue). I realized this experience has come and gone too fast and some of the people I performed with I will never see again.

Overall the experience I had with the Pasadena City College Honor Band is something I look forward to doing again.

Roxanne Windover is a junior at West Ranch High School.


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