Maui HS Band Gets 2015 Rose Bowl Invite

October 22, 2013, 8:30 PM HST · Updated October 23, 10:41 AM
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MHS Band at the Maui Fair Parade, Oct. 3, 2013. Photo courtesy Kerry Wasano / MHS Band - Tanaka Gallery.

MHS Band at the Maui Fair Parade, Oct. 3, 2013. Photo courtesy Kerry Wasano / MHS Band – Tanaka Gallery.

By Wendy Osher

In a surprise announcement tonight, members of the Saber Marching Band & Color Guard from Maui High School learned that they have been selected to march in the 126th Annual Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2015 in Pasadena, California.

The invite marks the first time a Maui band group will perform in the iconic annual event, and the return of neighbor island representation for only the second time in the event’s history since Hilo High marched in the parade in 1971 and 1992, said MHS Band Director Kerry Wasano in a phone interview earlier today.

Maui High School Band marching in the 2013 Maui Fair, file photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui High School Band marching in the 2013 Maui Fair, file photo by Wendy Osher.

It is also the first appearance by a Hawaiʻi public school band in the nationally televised event since Pearl City participated in 2006, according to Department of Education officials.

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The 110 member of the MHS band, along with their parents, and band boosters were present during the announcement, made at around 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22, during a band-parent meeting in the Maui High Gym.

MHS Color Guard at the Maui Fair Parade, Oct. 3, 2013. Photo courtesy Kerry Wasano / MHS Band - Tanaka Gallery.

MHS Color Guard at the Maui Fair Parade, Oct. 3, 2013. Photo courtesy Kerry Wasano / MHS Band – Tanaka Gallery.

Band Director Kerry Wasano, who has led the program since 1998, said the band and color guard, their parents and the school community are “honored and humbled by the invitation to participate in one of the nation’s most prominent new year traditions.”

“These last couple of days since receiving the invitation have been overwhelming,” said Wasano in a statement provided by the DOE. “But,” he said, “we need our students to keep focus on their studies, and several tournaments we’ll be participating in this year.”

The Maui High Saber marching band and color guard frequently travel and participate in band competitions on Oʻahu. They reportedly captured the “Sweepstakes” award for three consecutive years between 2010 and 2012 by obtaining the top score in their division, according to the DOE.

Wasano also said that fundraising for the band’s trip to Pasadena would be a main focus in 2014, with hopes of bringing together supporters from both the public and private sector to help pay for the trip.

Maui High School Band marching in the 2013 Maui Fair, file photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui High School Band marching in the 2013 Maui Fair. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui, who is a 1989 graduate of Maui High, and former band member, also commented saying he’s “ecstatic” about the MHS group being chosen for the coveted spot.

In a statement released by the DOE, Tsutsui said, “I’m very proud of the students and Band Director Wasano for this exceptional accomplishment. I look forward to seeing them proudly representing Maui and the rest of Hawaiʻi. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event and I’m sure this is an experience the students will remember for the rest of their lives.”

DOE officials say that since 1950, when the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association began keeping records of band participants, 29 bands from Hawaiʻi have appeared, including the Hawaiʻi All-State band, which is slated to perform in the upcoming 2014 Rose Parade.

In addition to Maui and Hilo, other public schools that have appeared in the Rose Parade include Kalani (1968, 1982), Roosevelt (1978), Pearl City (1980, 1984, 1996, 2000, 2006), Kahuku (1981, 1994), Mililani (1986, 1998), Castle (1988) and Moanalua (1990, 1995), according to information compiled by event organizers and released by the DOE.

DOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi applauded the student musicians at Maui High for earning the prestigious honor, and recognized them for their, “hard work, dedication, and exceptional talent.”

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