Friday, January 17, 2014

fiesta bowl parade

the day after christmas jordan and i boarded the tour buses at notre dame for the long ride to phoenix, arizona. i signed up at the beginning of the year to chaperone this trip thinking it would give me a good insight into the program and how trips are done.  but getting up early to get to school the day after christmas was not the brightest idea.

the buses were comfy but the ride was long.  we stopped a few times along the way bombarding the carl's jr in blythe with 120 orders of cheeseburgers and fries.  we made it safely to az and got to the hotel by 4 that afternoon.

we stayed at a hotel where all of the rooms faced the center courtyard.  that made it easy to keep an eye on students from anywhere.  in other words, it was tough to sneak out of your room after curfew without being seen.

this was the common area for eating, playing cards and gathering before heading out for the day. 

we had dinner at the hotel and let the kids settle in to their rooms for the night.  it's hard to get them to settle at all but eventually they did.

the staff and the band booster president did an amazing job planning this trip.  there was something to do every day but also time to chill at the hotel.  it wasn't always go, go, go.  and we got to see some cool stuff.

we visited the musical instrument museum in phoenix where we saw and learned about instruments from all over the world.

we had headphones that would activate as you stood by an exhibit so we could listen to the instruments being played by the people of the region.  i was in awe of the time, art, and creativity it takes to make some of these unique instruments and finding out the differences and similarities in music from all over the world.

it was a cultural trip around the world.

here's an exhibit i would have passed up before this year.  now i have an appreciation and understanding for this genre.

some cool memorabilia.

after the museum the kids went to a local high school to practice and march.  the weather was perfect, a nice change from the cold in california.

a few of the kids came down with a stomach bug that was either the flu or a reaction to the eggs from breakfast.  we took those kids back to the hotel to rest.  we were all concerned that it would spread to others and we would end up with half the band in bed for the parade.  luckily it passed quickly and did not spread.

when the kids returned to the hotel they got their parade uniforms ready for the next day.  we did some steaming, adjusted hems and checked shoes.  i love the pride that the band puts into looking good.  every detail is important and that's what makes them impressive.

for dinner they took us to a restaurant that overlooked the city.  it was a barbecue place with so much good food.  we never went hungry on this trip and we were treated very well.

i tried to give jordan his space during the trip.  he had his own chaperone and didn't have to report to me.  but every once in a while i would stop him to say hello and snap a picture of him with his band mates.  he's made some good friendships in this group.

the next morning was all about parade.  this was the biggest event that jordan or i had participated in.  seeing all of the other bands in the staging area was overwhelming and exciting.

his last time wearing this uniform as a freshman.  and he looks great. (they have a parade uniform, a football uniform and an away game warm up suit, as well as various band t-shirts.)

the michigan cheerleaders and band were right behind us in the staging area.

once we were on the route it was like any other parade, except with a lot more spectators.  the kids marched for almost 3 miles.  tiring for everyone involved but especially the drumline that never stopped.  by the end they were sweaty and exhausted - but they sounded amazing.

this group followed us along the route and you can imagine the cheers and jeers they got along the way.

the parade took longer than anticipated and we had reservations for lunch right after.  the kids rushed back to the hotel to change and jump on the bus to mesa.  we had lunch at organ stop pizza.  it's a pizza place with a large organ that one guy plays.  he can also play the drums, strings and give a light show from where he sits.  the kids loved it.

after lunch it was back to the hotel for a little rest and then we got ready for the football game.

our school was invited to the buffalo wild wings bowl that was held at arizona state university.  the game was between michigan and kansas state.

i had never been to a live football game, so this was exciting for me.  we sat next to the k-state band and a very enthusiastic (and inebriated) group of college students.  there was some confusion when they saw the notre dame logo on our shirts.  we did some explaining that we were not the university and that calmed their temper.

it was a learning experience for the kids as well, especially the seniors who will be heading to college next year.  at first they were intimidated by the cheering and chanting but by the end of the night the kids were joining in; doing the dances and yelling out just like everyone else.  and the k-state victory made it more memorable.

the next morning we got to sleep in and then had breakfast at the hotel. our field trip this day was to the kiwanis club for some fun.

 the facility had a gym, basketball courts, outdoor volleyball courts and a wave pool.

not sure how exciting that is for a group of teenagers from california but they went with it and had a good time.

that evening they held the parade awards ceremony at rawhide ranch, an old west town.
 the 10 participating bands gathered here for dinner and announcements.

it was a party with kids from all over the country with bbq and line dancing.  as they called the names of participating high schools we knew the competition would be tough. they call them in the order of their point totals so when we were not one of the schools called we knew we'd placed in the top three.

and the kids took home a second place plaque.  what a way to end the trip.

at the end of the day the kids were happy but ready to go home.

and so were the chaperones.

we travelled back to california the next day with some cool memories to share.

here's a clip from the local telecast of the parade.  skip ahead to 1:13 to see them.

add this to the list of memorable band experiences.  i'm sure there's a lot more to come.

No comments: