On Monday December 28th nearly 200 Conroe High School Tiger Band students made their way to the West Coast to participate in the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade. The Conroe High School Tiger Band was one of only 21 bands selected to play in the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade which took place on Friday January 1, 2010 at 8am. They were the only band from Texas and were proud to represent their state as they marched as number 53 in the parade with bands from throughout the nation, along with magnificent floral floats and high-stepping equestrian units making up 92 total parade entries.
The excitement and honor had been a long time coming – the band was notified of its selection to participate in the parade on October 12, 2008 when they received a letter from the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. They were selected for their “excellent music talents, performance skills, efforts and outstanding directorship” according to the association’s Music Committee.
Though their journey started over a year before leaving they decided to get another early start, leaving their high school in two shifts on Monday at 4:30am and 8:45am with 16 chaperones and 30 “Band Fan” parents cheering them on.
The excitement was uncontainable as they prepared to head to Hobby Airport for what would be a first flight for a third of the students. “I know a lot of people didn’t get to sleep last night because they were excited,” sophomore and drum major Connor Black shared Monday. “I can’t sum it up in any words,” said senior Jaleesha Abbs, who is a member of the color guard. “This morning I was anxious to get up.”
“I’m just ready to get on the plane and get to California because I was ready when they told us,” said Senior and tuba player Thomas Borowski. “It was a long wait.” In order to make the trip, band members raised nearly $350,000, or $1,764 per person by hosting garage sales, car washes, concerts and raffles. Because of the year-long wait many band students had already graduated, but because of their contribution the 2009 CHS band graduates were invited to participate. Among the graduates that joined the band were Shalese McCloud who plays clarinet, Whitney Van Alstyne who plays flute and Nathan Tamborello who plays trombone.
One mother and former member of the 1986 CHS band played in Tournament of Roses Parade, sent her daughter, senior Samantha Gonzalez on this new adventure. “We’re proud of all of them, because we know they worked hard,” she said, adding that she wished she was going again.
Not only did the band participate in the Tournament of Roses Parade, they also played in a field show at Pasadena College announced by another former 1986 band member Brent Veazey. They made their state proud as they played “Deep in the Heart of Texas” and “Yellow Rose of Texas” while they formed the shape of Texas on the field. And to represent not only their state, but their city as well they played “Tiger Boogie” as they spelled out “Conroe” on the field.
The Tournament of Roses Parade is broadcast live by ABC, NBC, HGTV, Tribune, Univision, Telemundo, Travel Channel, Discovery HD Theater and Sky Link TV, according to www.tournamentofroses.com.
To learn more about the CHS band, visit chs.conroeisd.net/band.