The William Mason High School Marching Band rang in the new year with a 5.5 mile trip down Colorado Boulevard in the 2016 Rose Parade. After over a year of planning and fundraising, Ohio’s top band traveled to Pasadena to perform in front of their largest audience of over 79 million parade fans. View the televised coverage on HGTV and NBC.
For Mason’s band director, Bob Bass, marching in the Rose Parade with his wife, Susan Bass, his colleagues, and band members was a career highlight. “When we turned at TV corner, the first thing I saw was the enormous group of our family members and friends, and then I heard the roar of their cheers,” shared Bass. “To see the tears of joy and celebration of the parents as their kids marched by was so inspiring and motivating.”
According to junior mellophone player Karli Farrell, the marching band felt that inspiration and motivation even before the plane departed for California. While the trip itself was fun and rewarding, Farrell said it was the journey getting there that was really incredible. “Last year’s senior class were great leaders and made our show so successful. They were a huge part of why we were invited to the Rose Parade,” explained Farrell. “They inspired us, and we wanted to work hard for them.”
The 313-member band, along with seven staff members, 42 parent volunteers, and nearly 700 friends and family members, embraced the 2016 Rose Parade theme, Find Your Adventure, with a week of performing, touring, and sight-seeing in California. The band visited local attractions, including the Farmers Market, Santa Monica Pier, and Universal Studios, and marched in the famous Disneyland parade.
At BandFest, Mason had the opportunity to perform their award-winning 2015 competition show one last time. The show, Somewhere, based on the musical West Side Story, featured the color guard members as Maria, complete with bright yellow dresses that made quite a statement during the Rose Parade later in the week.
Mason High School Student Activities Director, Lorri Fox Allen, was in California with her husband to visit her daughter, and they caught up with the band for their performance at Bandfest. “When our band turned and faced the crowd at the beginning of the show, it was breathtaking! They were outstanding; the sound coming from them was like no other we had heard during the entire event.” What struck Fox Allen was not just the exceptional show or impressive sound of the band, but the level of support from family and friends. “It was remarkable to see the amount of fan support in the stands for our band. Only Mason would have so many loyal parents and fans travel to California to share in this honor!”
Band Booster Board member and parent Barbie Champ, whose daughter Sarah is a sophomore color guard member, captured many significant moments of the trip as she helped coordinate social media for the band. “The amount of excitement and pride in our marching band program, school, and community…you could just feel it and see it on the faces of every family that traveled to watch Mason,” said Champ. “It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. Just surreal.”