CEDAR PARK, Texas - In less than three weeks, the Vista Ridge High School Ranger Band will give the performance of a lifetime. The marching band is headed to California to play in the legendary Rose Parade.
"It’s still kind of crazy. I can’t believe it’s so close. We’ve been looking forward to it for so long," said junior drum major Kyleigh Gasbarro.
Tuesday night was one of the final rehearsals for the Ranger band before the ship off to Los Angeles.
"Basically we’re learning our sets for the rose parade that we’re going to perform," said senior flutist Leah Moore.
On Jan. 2, 2023, they’ll step off down the streets of Pasadena.
Assistant Band Director Zach Santos says, to his knowledge, the band has never done anything this big.
"Trying to tell that to the children ‘hey, you’re walking down a road with a million people on it.’ I think everyone’s excited," said Santos.
They’ve been prepping ever since they were selected more than a year ago.
"I couldn’t believe it at first," said senior color guard Kelsey Markulec.
"I was so ecstatic," said Moore.
"I was like really confused, because how come we were being chosen," said junior flutist Adhyaa Ramprasad.
As we quickly found out, they were chosen because they’re just that good.
"I think just an innate sense of excellence that’s instilled and trained," said Santos.
"We’re all really, really close," said Markulec. "And having this community be able to get to this place, it’s crazy."
It’s hard to overstate how much of an honor this is for the Ranger Band. Not only were they the only band specifically invited by Rose Parade organizers, but they’re the only band from Texas appearing in this year’s parade.
"It’s very exciting to have this opportunity. I’m grateful to be able to end my senior year this way," said Moore.
Aside from the music and the formations, the five-and-a-half-mile Rose Parade is also a big-time test of endurance.
"It’s been a long journey. I’m really excited for us. I’m really excited for everyone to hear us," said Ramprasad.
In addition to the parade itself, the Ranger Band will also be performing at Bandfest in Pasadena. And Vista Ridge will be representing the Lone Star State by playing a Willie Nelson Song.
This has been a big year for Leander ISD. Vista Ridge’s Rose Parade performance comes a little over a month after the Vandegrift band played at the Macy’s Parade in New York.