When the Westlake High School Chaparral marching band performed at the annual convocation this summer, they already knew how 2016 was going to end -- packing their instruments and hitting the road for the 128th Rose Parade in California.
Assistant Director Jana Robertson says the band found out they had been chosen more than a year ago.
"It's been a lot of hype leading up to this and a long time coming but as it gets closer and closer the excitement is just building so it's really cool," she said.
On Monday, the day after Christmas, students loaded up the equipment for the big trip.
"The whole band is going. I think we have like 254 kids on board with us and a bunch of chaperones and all of our band staff," Robertson said.
According to the Tournament of Roses, marching bands from all over the world submit detailed applications and the selections are based on criteria like musicianship and marching ability.
The students will march the 5 and a half mile parade route on January 2nd.
"I think we're expecting the parade to be long and hard but to feel great after that," said senior alto sax player Kelsey Richardson.
Richardson has been in band since the sixth grade and this trip takes the cake.
"Nothing as big as this. We've played at Disney World or a competition around there but this is by far the best and biggest thing that I've ever done with band," she said.
The Westlake Chap band will be keeping busy in Cali. They're also playing a competition called Bandfest in Pasadena.
In case you didn't know, high school marching bands start rehearsing during the summer before school even starts. Robertson says Westlake students have worked even harder this year to get ready for this prestigious honor.
"We don't normally do parade marching so it's something that these students have had to learn on top of everything else that we've had going on this season and it's going to be really cool," Robertson said.