Texas high school band share experiences after performing in Rose Parade

The Vista Ridge High School marching band is back home, after performing on one of the world’s biggest stages, the legendary Rose Parade in California.

All eyes were on the Ranger Band last Monday, as they marched through the streets of Pasadena.

"It was such an amazing experience," said senior Sophia George, a drum major.

"It feels kind of surreal," said senior cymbal player Maddie McGahey.

"I was just marching and playing, and I can think about getting nervous later," said junior Nate Choe, a flutist.

The band had the honor of being the only band from Texas appearing in this year’s parade.

"Every time we started playing a new song, we’d go by a group of people, they all start cheering and like, ‘Is that band from Texas?’" said senior Zachary Gray, a flutist.  

Image 1 of 6


"It’s super cool to see bands from other countries as well as other states because we’re all there to do one thing which is make music," said George.

"I’m really proud that we got that opportunity and that I got to do that as a sophomore," said McGahey.

The biggest challenge, they say, may have been the five-and-a-half mile route.

"Holding the cymbals like here, this arm started to get super tired," said McGahey.

"I’m not gonna lie, carrying that sousaphone for like six and a half miles, I was tired, but I enjoyed it a lot," said senior Andy Luu.

Just days after performing on one of the world’s biggest stages, the band is back in the band hall, and getting back to work.

"Oh, extremely proud. They are constantly making the standard higher, raising the bar," said Bryan Christian, who has been Director of Bands at Vista Ridge High School since it opened in 2003.

Despite his steady leadership, Christian will be the first to tell you this moment was a true team effort.

"All of our bands are very competitive high quality just amazing teachers, and we are also blessed with an amazing community that supports us. So I think that’s the secret sauce if anything," said Christian.

With the "Countdown to Pasadena" sign, now reading: "It’s all over. Deal with it"—it begs the question: what’s next?

"It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing for the kids, and I’m old, so it’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing for me," said Christian.

"I think this is—this will be the peak," said McGahey.