VIDEO: Maui High Band Prepared for Cold Rose Parade

January 1, 2015, 6:09 AM HST · Updated January 2, 1:43 PM
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The Maui High School Saber Marching Band & Color Guard performs in the rain and cold Tuesday at Bandfest, a pre-Rose Parade event featuring every marching band that will appear in the New Year's Day Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, Calif. Photo by Walt Mancini, AP / Pasadena Star-News.

The Maui High School Saber Marching Band & Color Guard performs in the rain and cold Tuesday at Bandfest, a pre-Rose Parade event featuring every marching band that will appear in the New Year’s Day Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, Calif. Photo by Walt Mancini, AP / Pasadena Star-News.

By MauiNow Staff

Maui High School’s award-winning Saber Marching Band & Color Guard can be seen live on television (KITV ABC, channel 4) this morning — between 6 and 8 a.m. — participating in the 126th annual Rose Parade.

Months of preparation and an exhausting number of practice hours, dating back to the start of the school year in late August, have culminated today — Jan. 1, 2015 — for 140 Maui High School students.

“This is the biggest thing the students have done in their lives so the preparation was long and hard, but they are really looking forward to the performances and sharing with the world basically what we have to offer and what we do on Maui,” Maui High School band director Kerry Wasano told KHON News earlier in the week.

Maui High Band at Disneyland Parade. Photo courtesy MHS Band Facebook.

Maui High Band at Disneyland Park Parade on Wednesday. Photo courtesy MHS Band Facebook.

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An estimated worldwide television audience of 70 million is expected to watch the Rose Parade.

This is the first time a Maui high school band will play in the prestigious parade. Maui High is only the second Neighbor Island school selected to perform in the parade. Hilo High School marched in 1971 and 1992. Pearl City High School of Oahu was the last Hawaii public school band to perform in the parade, in 2006.

In addition to bands from across the country, including Mexico, Japan and Netherlands, the New Year’s Day lineup include 39 floats highlighting historic figures, celebrities and popular culture around the theme “Inspiring Stories.”

According to today’s timesunion.com, for the first time in 30 years, a crew of volunteers decided to suspend decorating floats for the night, because strong winds from a blustery winter storm blew flowers into the air. The scaffolding bounced and the power went out.

A cold air mass moving into Southern California is expected to make today’s Rose Parade one of the coldest on record. Officials advised the thousands expected to line the streets to dress in layers and drink plenty of warm liquids as temperatures hover around freezing in the early morning hours.

The Maui High School Saber Marching Band & Color Guard performs in the rain and cold Tuesday at Bandfest, a pre-Rose Parade event featuring every marching band that will appear in the New Year's Day Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, Calif. Photo by Walt Mancini, AP / Pasadena Star-News.

The Maui High School Saber Marching Band & Color Guard performs in the rain and cold Tuesday at Bandfest, a pre-Rose Parade event featuring every marching band that will appear in the New Year’s Day Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, Calif. Photo by Walt Mancini, AP / Pasadena Star-News.

The frigid weather did not stop dozens of people from lining up early Wednesday to claim spots along the six-mile parade route.

“We’re going to have a clear day and it’ll be cool and brisk, but I think people are just going to really enjoy the excitement of the Rose Parade,” said Richard Chinen, president of the 2015 Tournament of Roses.

Chinen has Hawaii ties, Wasano said. There will be pa’u riders (Hawaiian horseback riders) from the Big Island followed by Chinen and his wife. The Maui High School band with its color guard and hula dancers will follow. The group will perform a “Maui Medley,” arranged by Kamehameha Schools Maui Band Director Siuai Laufou. It includes the songs “Maui Chimes” (with the same melody as “Maui No Ka Oi”), “Pretty Maui Girl” and “Na Wai Kaulana.”

MHS Bandfest3

The Maui High School Saber Marching Band & Color Guard performs in the rain and cold Tuesday at Bandfest, a pre-Rose Parade event featuring every marching band that will appear in the New Year’s Day Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, Calif. Photo by Walt Mancini, AP / Pasadena Star-News.

Behind the band will be the Dole Packaged Foods float, which is usually a good attention-getter, winning awards for its float design, according to Wasano.

“He’s been really nice to us,” Wasano said of Chinen, a Punahou Schools and University of Hawaii graduate, in a Maui News story published in November. “He’s really been helpful.”

In addition to the 140 band members and color guard, around 60 parents, staff members and supporters made the trip.

The band had its official band photo taken at the Rose Bowl on Tuesday, before participating in a scheduled Bandfest performance in the afternoon — despite rainy weather — at Pasadena City College.

On Wednesday the band participated in the Disneyland Park Parade.

On behalf of the band, Wasano sent a New Year’s message late last night to all of its Facebook friends: “We would like to wish you all a Happy New Year! We are humbled by the outpouring of support in our efforts to bring our performers to Pasadena. We hope to make you proud! Thank you all for a most memorable 2014, and be sure to watch the broadcast bright and early in the morning!”

The parade will be followed by the College Football Playoff at the Rose Bowl game, beginning at noon on ESPN (channels 22, 222) where second-seeded Oregon and Hawaii Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota will face third-seeded Florida State and 2014 Heisman winner Jameis Winston.

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