Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

40 GRHS students go to Rose Parade California

 

Photo courtesy of Dana Newcomb.

Forty Green River students were part of a group of 295 students from Wyoming to make up the Wyoming All-State Marching Band.

The Wyoming All-State Marching Band made its appearance in the 127th Pasadena Rose Parade.

The New Year's Day parade had more than 40 floats and about 20 bands, including Wyoming's marching band.

Jerrid Washburn, Green River High School band director, said 40 students from GRHS joined high school students from across the state to make up a total of 295 students in the band.

Washburn is not new to this marching band. He helped direct the band for five years, which included two Rose Parades, a trip to Hawaii and a trip to Scotland. This year, he was happy to act as a guest and help out only when needed.

According to the website http://www.wasmb.org, students representing 32 different communities and 27 high schools joined together to make up the marching band.

"Students in the All-State Marching Band are selected by director recommendations," Washburn said.

In preparation for the Rose Parade, the band hosted its two big band practices this summer; one in Powell and one in Cheyenne, GRHS sophomore and clarinet player, Cassie Newcomb said.

Washburn said this summer was a little bit different than previous years as far as practices go.

"When the Rose Parade says that you're in, you do what you can to make sure you're there," Washburn said.

Since the band members are literally spread out all over the state, the first thing the group did when they arrived in California after an 18-hour trip was practice.

At first, the group was a little off on the music, but then they synchronized.

"It's neat to watch," Washburn said.

Newcomb said it was up to those attending the Rose Parade to memorize all of their music, including "Magnificent Seven," "Ghost Riders" and "Blazing Saddles." She said it was also up to the students to practice marching and stay in shape for the 5-6 mile parade route.

Newcomb was proud to say she marched in a 2 1/2 hour parade, which is something not many people can say.

The trip did have a few snags. Washburn said Green River was the meeting point for all seven buses going to California. One of the buses was late, which put the whole group behind schedule. They wound up arriving five hours late in California.

Newcomb said because they were late, they had to practice in the hotel parking lot in the dark.

Washburn said it was all a learning experience for the kids. They learned that even though there maybe a schedule in place, things come up and sometimes a schedule cannot be kept.

He said the students also learned how a big, diverse group can come together in a minimal amount of time to put on a great performance.

The Rose Parade was not the only event the band performed in. They also performed in a band fest and marched at Disneyland.

While in California, band members had a chance to have fun in Disneyland, Universal Studios, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and they went to the beach.

Washburn said for some it was the first time they had ever seen the ocean. He said this trip is something the students will remember.

"For some of them, it's first-time experiences," Washburn said. "I was really proud of the students, mine specifically."

He said all of the 40 students in the marching band are in at least one other activity, group or they have a job.

 

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