Ashley Cunliffe isn’t at all concerned about the millions of eyes
that will be glued to her every move on New Year’s Day.
In fact, Ashley welcomes the attention she’ll receive for playing
her French horn during the 115th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Thursday.
“I’m not nervous at all,” she said this week. “I’m more excited
because I know people are there to encourage me and watch me. It’ll
be a lot of fun.”
Ashley, 17, will be among seven members of the Burbank High School
marching band selected to perform in the parade along with the
Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band.
In addition to Ashley, fellow Burbank High students Matt Benson,
James Brittain, Charlie Lilly, Justin Milota, Chris Newton and
Stephen Oakley will march in the parade with about 120 students from
about 90 high schools as far away as Ramona, Victorville and
Dean Immel, Burbank High School’s instrumental music director,
said the seven students are the most from Burbank High to participate
in the honor band at one time.
“They’re good musicians and reliable kids, and every one of them I
give my wholehearted support to,” Immel said. “Every year, we have a
few outstanding students, and each one of these kids is outstanding.”
Matt, a 15-year-old freshman who plays the tuba, has practiced
with the PCC band every Sunday since October and daily since
Christmas Day. He said the training, which includes seven hours a
week at home, has paid off.
“One day, I hope to attend USC and [perform in] its marching band,
so this experience will hopefully get me ready for that,” Matt said.
James Arnwine, the director of bands at Pasadena City College,
said the school’s 80-student marching band relies on the additional
high school students to reach a size appropriate for the Rose Parade.
And Burbank High School, Arnwine added, was among the schools
contributing the highest number of students to this year’s honor
“It shows that [Burbank High School] is a good school and they
have outstanding students,” he said. “I hope they learn a lot as well
as uplift their schools from this traditional experience.”
Charlie, a junior trombonist who performed with the band in last
year’s parade, said the best advice he can give his fellow performers
is to pace themselves during the 5 1/2 mile march, which takes about
“It was tough, walking and playing in the whole parade,” he said.
“But in the end, it felt really good to make it.”