Brian Mellstrom and Joshua Spry will be closer to the Tournament of Roses Parade than anyone else on New Year's Day — without having to camp out the night before.
Brian and Joshua, both La Cañada High School students, will be marching in the parade after being chosen for the Tournament of Roses Honor Band. The honor band includes Pasadena City College's band and a selected group of talented high-school musicians.
"I was just amazed I was chosen and that I'd be able to perform in the Rose Parade," said Brian, 16, who is in the 11th grade. "It feels cool to be seen as one of the best."
Both Brian and Joshua play the trumpet and are part of 140 other high-school students chosen for the Tournament of Roses Honor Band. Approximately 500 students auditioned for the band.
"It's fairly competitive but it can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these kids," said Kyle Luck, director of the Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band.
The whole experience is bringing Joshua closer to his dream of becoming a member of the Herald Trumpets, a group of nine elite trumpeters that precede the Rose Court float in the parade each year.
"Both the Honor Band and Herald Trumpets are part of the same organization, so this is the first step to becoming a Herald Trumpet player," said Joshua, a 14-year-old sophomore. "I'm kind of using these two years to learn how the band and parade works, and hopefully that will help get me in the Herald Trumpets."
This is the second year Joshua has been chosen for the Tournament of Roses Honor Band. It was a surprise when he was first selected last year and a relief to be chosen again. The feeling he gets from the Tournament of Roses Parade is great, he said.
"You turn the corner from Orange Grove to Colorado and as far as the eye can see, there are people on both sides. The adrenaline going through you is really intense," Joshua said.
Luck said being chosen for the band gives high-school students a chance to play with other all-star musicians.
"It's a real treat," Luck said. "I was apart of this band and marched in the parade myself for three years and I remember them all vividly. I still treasure those memories."