Musicians focus on upcoming Rose Parade

September 1, 2015 — by Karissa Dong and Katherine Zhou

With Pasadena’s Rose Parade approaching on Jan. 1, the marching band has adapted its class curriculum to help prepare for the parade’s 7.2-mile march.

With Pasadena’s Rose Parade approaching on Jan. 1, the marching band has adapted its class curriculum to help prepare for the parade’s 7.2-mile march.

“[The parade] is a national, televised event, and requires a lot of preparations for the group, one of them being physical fitness,” music director Jonathan Pwu said.

Physical training intensified during band camp, two weeks before school started. In the current rehearsal program, the students take part in endurance-building routines, such as running six laps around the track, and core-strengthening exercises like planks.

To prepare for the grand event, the band will also be performing in three local parades — the Cupertino Tournament of Bands on Oct. 10, the Foothill Band Review on Oct. 24 and the Los Gatos Holiday Parade on Dec. 5.

“I’m really excited [for the Rose Parade] because it’s a unique opportunity that many people don’t get to experience,” junior manager Joyce Lai said. “It’s one thing to watch it on television, but to be part of the event is something special.”

According to Pwu, minor staffing changes have placed him in charge of the “visual aspects” of marching band, while band administrator Anthony Lanzino is responsible for the “musical aspects.”

Together, they work on the show design, making edits and suitable arrangements to the musical score and creating concepts for patterns on the field.

“The students have been exceptionally hard-working and diligent this year, given the bigger push, but they are rehearsing at a really high level,” Pwu said.

Meanwhile, the drum majors — seniors Shiva Djabbari, Katie McLaughlin and Avi Arjavalingam — have been focusing on the basic skills. With the Rose Parade several months ahead, Djabbari said the band has not yet begun work for parade marching but has devoted practice time to perfecting their baton and mace twirling routines.

“The band as a whole has been focusing on simple things like marching forwards,” she said. “We’re basically cleaning up the basics to be able to march really well.”

Besides football game performances, the band will host a home show on Oct. 3, participate in the WBA Dublin Competition on Oct. 31 as well as the Bands of America Regional on Nov. 7 in American Canyon.

This year’s theme, “Quest,” is based on the mobile game “Monument Valley,” in which princess Ida is led through mazes of optical illusions. The show, resembling an optical illusion journey, has four stages that represent the four elements: fire, water, earth and air.

“Our goal is to have the most fun, build a family like we always should and be in shape for the Rose Parade,” McLaughlin said.

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