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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, December 28, 2006

Punahou band has rosy future

By Beverly Creamer
Advertiser Education Writer

The Punahou marching band got in some last-minute practice before flying to California and the Tournament of Roses parade. The band will be led by three drum majors and a color guard and will march in rows of 11 players across an estimated 7 miles.

Punahou School

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Punahou School's 242-member marching band has left for Pasadena, Calif., to represent Hawai'i in the 118th Tournament of Roses parade, which precedes the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.

"Each year, a band from Hawai'i has participated," said band director Keith Higaki in a written statement, "so, our state has a good reputation and we need to look and sound our best."

The band spent the fall semester practicing for the grueling 5-mile route, one of the longer parades in the nation.

When marching in the parade staging area is factored in, band members will cover an estimated 7 miles before the event wraps up.

This year's appearance marks the Punahou band's third trip to the Rose Parade. The last appearance was in 1999.

The parade will be telecast Jan. 1, beginning at 6 a.m. Hawai'i time on ABC affiliate KITV-Channel 4.

The parade, which begins at 8 a.m. Pacific time, will feature 20 marching bands from throughout the country as well as floral floats and equestrian units. It's expected to last about two hours. This year's theme is "Our Good Nature."

According to Punahou, Pasadena officials have estimated that as many as 1 million people turn up along the route to watch the parade. In 2006, another 16 million households worldwide watched the parade on TV.

The Punahou band will be led by three drum majors and a color guard. The band will march in rows of 11 players across, and the group will stretch more than 250 feet as it moves along the parade route.

Their challenge, according to the statement from the school, is to continue playing "crisp and clear music" as they head through the long march. Band members have a 3 a.m. wake-up call to assemble at the staging area.

"Stamina is key to reach the end of the parade while maintaining proper playing posture, marching alignment and good music quality," the Punahou statement said.

Reach Beverly Creamer at bcreamer@honoluluadvertiser.com.