David Fiem and Maria Grande will enjoy a unique tour of Pasadena, Calif., when they take part in the Rose Bowl Parade on New Year’s Day. The two Trinity musicians were chosen to participate in the festivities leading up to the nation’s oldest collegiate bowl game as part of an ensemble that includes band players from across the United States.
“I can’t wait,” said Fiem, 18, a senior from Amwell Township who plays the sousaphone. “I’m really looking forward to meeting all the new people and making some new friendships.”
The students are being flown to Pasadena to take part in a special troupe put together by the nonprofit group Music For All.
Their accommodations include a stay at the Manhattan Beach Marriot and visits to Disneyland and surrounding parks.
“I’m excited to go to Disneyland,” said Grande, 16, a sophomore from South Strabane Township who will play cymbals in the parade. “Music For All takes really good care of you.”
Fiem and Grande received sheet music weeks ago. After touching down in California, the students will meet their roommates – three fellow band students with whom they will play all week. They will participate in a group meeting before diving right into practice.
“The first three days is solid rehearsal,” Grande said. “Breakfast, lunch, dinner.”
The two Trinity band members said they wouldn’t be fazed by the training regimen because their summer “hell camp” – the weeks of drilling leading up to the football season – prepared them for anything.
“In order to be prepared, we’ve got all the music memorized,” Grande said. “They try to make sure all the participants are physically fit before they go down.”
After four days of drilling, they’ll receive a respite in order to go to Band Fest. The large festival is held every year by Pasadena Tournament of Roses, the committee that organizes the Rose Bowl and its associated activities. At Band Fest, the students will be able to see musical traditions from across the country.
“California has some really good bands,” Grande said. “There are some really good musicians over there and excellent drum corps.”
“It’s more than bands just playing music,” Fiem said. “They’re putting on a show. Much more of a performance than just music. It’ll be great to see all the different uniforms.”
As for their uniforms, Grande and Fiem will leave behind their familiar Trinity outfits for new red-white-and-blue duds the participants in the Music For All band are given. They will march the nearly six-mile parade route while playing songs like John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” and Katy Perry’s “Fireworks” on new instruments provided by Yamaha.
“The Rose Bowl is the granddaddy of all bowl games,” Fiem said. “It’s a real honor to participate. I can’t wait to play.”