Where do I begin to describe the most memorable moments of the Rose Parade?! I have so many. Here are just a few:

I was on the bus with the color guard, and we were heading to the beach. On the way there, someone starting singing “Who Says” by Miley Cyrus. Then someone else joined in, and suddenly there was a big group of us color guard girls singing the song on the top of our lungs and dancing. It was a great song about how we are reminded that we are perfect the way we are, but even more special because we all sang it together.

On the parade route itself, we were over halfway done, and my feet were killing me. I was cold and tired and thirsty. I wanted to stop performing for a little bit just to get my energy up. This guy had a sign that said 3 miles left. Then a lady next to him had a sign that said “he’s lying.” We (the color guard) laughed at it. It lifted my spirits and made it easier to finish the parade! At the end of the parade, the drumline finished their last cadence, and we started dancing to finish it out. I couldn’t believe I actually finished marching an international parade!

I think one of the biggest things I still talk about today, other than performing You Raise Me Up at Bandfest, was the reception after the parade. I was super lucky to go on the trip with my best friend, Maija, she plays clarinet, and any moment I wasn’t with the color guard, I was with the clarinets. At the ceremony, the clarinets and I started dancing, and Maija and I started teaching them to dance cumbia. Someone started a conga line, and we danced around the whole floor. I know all our feet had ached from the parade, but we kept dancing anyway. I loved every moment.

At Bandfest, we performed You Raise Me Up, and I remember having the pre-show jitters. I was focused on making sure I remembered everything from rehearsal the days before. After, hearing the first chord and feeling chills up my spine, I wasn’t nervous anymore. I felt my smile grow bigger. I saw United Sound performing, and it was just so wholesome. I got to stand in the center of the field dancing and spinning with the color guard I just met but was already made great memories with, and it brought some tears to my eyes. There was pride in the music we were playing, and the crowd was reciprocating the emotions. It was a beautiful performance that I will never forget!

I had the trip of a lifetime! Thank you all for the memories!