While WCU is very proud of the Pride of the Mountains marching band for their successful trip across the country to march in the 2011 Tournament of Roses parade, no one has really heard from the members who were able to enjoy the experience.
After a fast-paced week of band duties and fun, Pride of the Mountains members now look back on the week and remember it fondly, especially on the day of the parade.
“Marching in the Rose Parade was an amazing experience,” said Pride of the Mountains piccolo player, Elizabeth Robbins. “What I will remember the most about the trip was rounding the corner in the parade and seeing the thousands of people watching. It was jaw dropping. I have to admit I had to quit playing for a few seconds.”
“One of the things Bob told us to do when we were going through the turn was look as far down Colorado Boulevard as possible and see how many people are sitting along the sidewalks waiting to see you,” said Pride of the Mountains piccolo player, Kaitlin Saulter. “It’s the most incredible feeling in the world. Moments like those are what make my love for marching band grow.”
Of course a six mile march in front of thousands would be exhilarating for anyone and fortunately for the members it was enough excitement to keep them going.
“As a whole, it was very tiring,” said Pride of the Mountains alto saxophone player, Matthew Rhew.”But it felt pretty amazing to be able to march in the best known parade in the country other than the Macy’s parade.”
Aside from the parade, the band members were able to visit other significant California attractions such as The Santa Monica Pier, The Getty Museum, Disneyland, and of course Hollywood. While each member may have had their own favorite place, they could all agree on one thing: the sights were amazing.
“My favorite place we went was Santa Monica Pier and the beach,” said Robbins. It was fun, and so beautiful to see.”
“My favorite place was the Getty Museum because of all the great views,” said Rhew. “It was a beautiful place.”
“My favorite place was Hollywood,” said Saulter. “We got to see the Hollywood sign and walk on the Walk of Fame. It was really neat to see the names of your favorite stars on a sidewalk.”
However, many band members agree that more time in Hollywood was definitely needed. Due to time delays with the busses, the band was only given an hour to explore Hollywood Boulevard and see the sights.
“If I could have changed one thing about the trip, I would change the amount of time we had in Hollywood,” said Saulter. “It is such a beautiful place to explore and only spending such a short amount of time there made me sad.”
Saulter was lucky enough have time to go see the Hollywood sign, but not all members were as fortunate.
“More time in Hollywood would have been nice, and I definitely would have loved to have seen the Hollywood sign,” said Robbins.
“I would have allowed more time to walk on Hollywood Blvd,” said Rhew. I didn’t get to take as many pictures as I would have liked because of time limitations. My group only had about 45 minutes.”
Clearly, time crunches were inevitable with the trip, but any type of delay could throw off the whole day, which is what happened with the busses and the trip to Hollywood.
Disneyland was also a big event for the trip, but unfortunately, Anahiem experienced quite a bit of rain that day, causing many members to seek shelter at the hotel in the early afternoon. Still, some members invested in a poncho and kept trucking on through the rain to have a good time.
“Going to Disneyland is one thing about the trip that I will never forget,” said Saulter. “Despite the rain, just being there was so much fun and I got to spend time with my very best friends. “
Disneyland was the last event before band member departed six separate ways to fly home to North Carolina. Even though the trip was hectic, the overall trip was successful in giving members great memories that they will never forget.
“Overall it is hard to decide what the best experience of the trip would be,” said Rhew. “Everything that we did contributed to a lifelong memory.”