(Photo Courtesy: Maui High School Band)
HONOLULU – Maui High School’s Saber Marching Band & Color Guard has been invited by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses® Association to appear in the 126th Annual Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2015 in Pasadena, Calif. It will mark the first appearance by a Hawaii public school band since Pearl City in 2006. Maui High is also just the second neighbor island school selected for the prestigious parade. The Rose Parade is nationally televised.
The announcement was made to a jubilant crowd of students, parents and band boosters on Oct. 22 in the Maui High Gym. Maui High School Band Director Kerry Wasano, who has led the program since 1998, says the band and color guard’s 110 students, 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. “But we need our students to keep focus on their studies, and several tournaments we’ll be participating in this year.” Wasano also said that fundraising for the band’s trip to Pasadena would be a main focus in 2014. Wasano said he hopes to also bring together supporters from the public and private sector to help pay for the trip. He says it will take a collaborative effort of Maui High’s past and present band supporters to make this happen.
Since 1950, when the Association began keeping records of band participants, 29 bands from Hawaii have appeared, which includes the Hawaii All-State band, slated to perform in the upcoming 2014 Rose Parade. The last neighbor island public school to participate in the Rose Parade was Hilo High in 1992. The Viking band also appeared in the 1971 parade.
“I applaud our student musicians for earning this prestigious honor and commend them for their hard work, dedication and exceptional talent,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, a former Hilo High School band member. “We look forward to watching our award-winning Maui Sabers shine as they represent our Aloha State in Pasadena.”
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).
“I am ecstatic that the Maui High School Band has been chosen for a coveted spot in the 2015 Rose Parade. 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 Hawaii,” said Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui, a 1989 Maui High School graduate and former band member. “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.”
The Maui High Saber marching band and color guard frequently travels and participates in band competitions on Oahu. In 2010, 2011 and 2012, the Sabers captured the “Sweepstakes” award by obtaining the highest score in their division. In each of these years, Mayor Alan Arakawa and Maui County Council recognized the band’s achievements.
Maui High School opened its doors on Sept. 15, 1913. Today it serves about 1,900 students in Central Maui.
Learn more about the Hawaii State Department of Education at www.HawaiiPublicSchools.org.