The Rose Parade began hurriedly. This year’s parade entry system, used to structure unit dropoff times and locations, was new. Thankfully, the Punahou Marching Band was prepared. During rehearsal, students were able to unload buses in under two minutes – a skill that came in handy this morning! Students off the bus first began marching in the parade even before the rest of the band hit pavement. Even with the rapid-fire start, the band was able to perform at their best as they passed the TV cameras that broadcasted their performance to 80 million people across 118 different countries.
During the parade, the aloha spirit was alive and well. Mark Falzarano, director of the Punahou Marching Band, said, “We were stopped a number of times when the parade paused – sometimes as much as five or ten minutes. I checked a few times, and students, at times, were tired, but they never wanted to stop playing. They continued their willingness to play and to share aloha with the audience.”
After the parade, the band was provided with an In-N-Out Burger lunch for the second time since our arrival. Though the students’ energy and cholesterol levels were at an all-time high, many band members chose to introduce themselves to students from other schools and ensembles. As a result, only a few of the kukui nut lei worn by students during the parade were brought back to their hotel. The remaining lei were given as a gift to the newly made friends of the Punahou band.
What a great day and a wonderful experience!