From my POV: Rose Parade

Performing in the Pasadena 129th annual Rose Parade

Hearts racing, we waited on the streets in the cold. In just a few minutes, we would step onto Colorado Boulevard. Waiting for us would be thousands of pedestrians and millions of viewers watching from their TV sets.

It has been over a year since the band directors first announced that the marching band was going to perform in the Rose Parade. For over a year, we pushed through hours of exhausting practices, even after fall season ended.

The marching band received the opportunity to march in a televised New Year’s parade.

As we inched closer to the start of the parade, band members practiced a few final notes and the guard squeezed in a couple more tosses. Photographers buzzed around, capturing the start of a day none of us would forget.

When the entries in front of us stepped off, we immediately straightened our lines and set. As a member of the color guard, I silently prayed to catch every toss. I knew others were doing the same.

We were about to represent HHS on national television. There were news cameras at every angle, ready to catch any and every mistake we make.

Finally the drumline started off the music and we began to march. Heads high and smiles on, we turned on to Colorado Boulevard.

People lined the streets and sat in high bleachers. Some were even watching from windows and on top of buildings.

News channels had placed their equipment throughout the street. Some of the cameras were right in our faces. I had to remind myself of the color guard rule of thumb: just keep performing.

I spun my flag and waved to the crowd. We interacted with them and with each other. People sang along to our songs, especially the crowd-pleasing mashup of “California Dreamin” and “Shut Up and Dance.” It felt absolutely exhilarating.

Every time we tossed our flags, the audience would cheer louder. They motivated us to make it to the end. They would yell things like “Yeah, Homestead!” and “Get it guard!” Some would even remind us how far we still had to go and to keep pushing.

The parade went by so fast and all too soon we were rounding the last corner. The whole band started whooping and cheering. We did it!

Every flag was caught, every note played beautifully and everyone made it through all 5.5 miles. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we made the most of it.

It had definitely been a long ride to get there. A lot of hard work, little sleep, three false alarms going off the night before the parade and spending way too much time with some of the most amazing people. But it was all worth the journey. Because that day, we made HHS history.