Grand Island, NE The Grand Island Northwest marching band's regular season ended in October, but they are still practicing for some very important performances. The band will perform in the halftime show of the 2013 Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl on December 30, along with the Big Bay Balloon Parade that morning, and at Disney Land on New Years Eve.
The trip to San Diego for the Northwest marching band began with a joke by a bass player.
"It started about 2 years ago. I jokingly asked Pfansteil, our band director, if we could go into the Rose Bowl Parade and it turns out, I guess, we're going to head to the Holiday Bowl instead. It's pretty cool, I was really excited when he said we were going to head to the Holiday Bowl," said Senior Trombone Player Nathan Adams.
Now the band will be memorizing 6 1/2 minutes of music for halftime.
GINW Direcotr of Bands Shawn Pfanstiel said of the music, "They call it Latin Holiday, so it's a medley of various pieces that are trying to celebrate the Latin culture of San Diego. Begins with Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass and 4 or 5 of their tunes and there's some Santana in there, there's some Christina Aguilera."
They will be accompanied by thousands of other musicians.
Senior Drum Major Riley Shenk said, "Really big challenge will be for everyone to be playing together at the same time but a really good thing about it is if we forget one note, someone else is right there next to us to pick it up."
"Being able to perform at such a large venue is really incredible," added Morgan Dennhardt, a Junior Melophone Player. "We've never had this many people be able to watch us or to be able to be combined with so many bands and directors. It's a great opportunity."
As the band continues to practice for their Holiday Bowl appearance, band members say that along with being able to play with such a large group of people at the game, they are looking forward the warm San Diego weather.
"I hate the cold weather so I'm really looking forward to the warm weather and going to Disney Land will be great and Sea World, all the fun places," said Rachel Phinney, a Senior Bass Drum Player.
The band recognizes this as a reward for a good season of play.
Phinney said, "I think that we can be really proud of our band and what we've accomplished, we've had a great marching season this year and I think that being selected to play at a Holiday Bowl really shows that."
This year is the 50th Anniversary for Grand Island Northwest High School, and Pfanstiel does not know of any other appearance by the band in a college bowl game.
The band will take off from the school at 2:00 on December 26 for a 30 hour bus ride to San Diego. They will leave San Diego on January 31 after their performance at Disney Land.