WAUKEE, Iowa — The Waukee Warrior Regiment announced they will have the opportunity to play at the 132nd Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, on January 1, 2021.
The parade is held on the day of the Rose Bowl. They have just a little over a year to prepare and raise money for the big event.
Students in the Waukee marching band say playing in front of thousands of people in the streets of Pasadena and millions in their seats at home is a dream come true.
“I’ve never actually gone but I’ve watched it every single year and I’ve never imagined that I would get to be a part of it. This is something that I just can’t wait to be a part of and that it’s just going to be a tremendous experience,” Waukee Warrior Regiment Drum Major James Tormey said.
The application process is extensive and they started that in March of last year. It included proving they could perform a very sharp turn.
“It was really the sophomores who were actually going to see the fruits of their work and yet still we had a lot of seniors and a lot of juniors who came out to help us out with that video because they believe in the program and they believe in what we have accomplished and they take a great deal of pride in being able to say we’re members of the Waukee Warrior Regiment,” Waukee High School Band Director Chris Strohmaier said.
Clarinetist Ellie Patterson said being a part of the regiment is extremely important to her and she is proud of the hard work that got the band to this point.
“Even though I don’t get to be a part of it, I was just excited that the opportunity came to be for all the sophomores and current juniors and then incoming freshmen. Especially for my brother as an incoming freshman, I feel like that will be a really big deal for him,” Patterson said.
Along with practicing their songs and routines, they will also have to prepare for the parade physically.
“I mean the sousaphone is 40 pounds, roughly. We’ve talked about that we’re going to seriously have to do some conditioning with the kids through the summer and the fall for them to make a five mile parade with the equipment and uniforms. It’s a tough parade,” Waukee High School Band Director Jeff Patterson said.
Tormey said he will be a senior in 2021 when they perform at the Rose Bowl Parade and he is confident the band can make it happen.
“It’ll be like my last hurrah, and I’m really excited for that. We’ll put in a lot of work for sure. I just can’t wait,” Tormey said.
The Waukee band directors said the fundraising will start very soon because they will need more than $500,000 to make the trip happen.