marching band members congregated for a surprise announcement Tuesday morning: they won a worldwide contest to perform in the 2013 Rose Bowl Parade.
This will be the fourth time that Alfred Watkins, Lassiter High School band director for the past 30 years, and the school’s marching band, will participate in the Rose Bowl, which is viewed globally by approximately 2 billion people.
“We have to apply two years in advance to participate in the parade,” said Watkins. "We submitted a video and audio recording, along with letters of recommendation, and out of the hundreds of bands that applied, we were chosen once again.”
High school marching bands can only submit applications to perform in the Rose Bowl every five years, which makes the Lassiter track record quite impressive. The school has previously participated in the 1988, 2001, and 2005 parades.
“The Rose Bowl Parade itself is actually several years older than the football game that is now played afterwards,” said Watkins. “It was originally just a small parade to celebrate the New Year and California’s beautiful flowers, but today the event is known as “The Granddaddy of Them All.”
Watkins estimates that approximately 400 people, including the school’s 235 marching band members, will be taking the seven-day-six-night trip to California to attend the parade. The trip will cost around $400,000.
Watkins said, “Fundraising alone will not be enough to cover the expenses. We estimate that the students and other school associates who will be attending will have to pay between $1500 and $1700 each, but we do have 15 months to prepare.”
During this once-in-a-life-time travel opportunity, the students will be able to take advantage of some of the beautiful sites and entertainment venues that California has to offer, such as Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood.
“Over the years, Lassiter’s marching band has had the privilege to travel to many different states to perform. We played in Hawaii for their 50th-year statehood celebration, and in New York City’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” he said. “I feel that being able to explore the places we travel to helps students see a broader view of the world.”