Nine students from Lincoln County high schools will be traveling across the country to California to march, play their instruments and work with other band enthusiasts from various other states in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade.
Among the local youth attending the week-long trip at the end of the year, is college freshman Jacob Seelman — a 2012 North Lincoln High graduate. Though Seelman is currently attending Winthrop University and isn’t a high school student anymore, he auditioned for the event when he was still attending NLHS -— a criteria for applying. All students selected must have sent in their submission while in high school.
While visiting an all-county band clinic, he heard about the opportunity through the Director of Athletic Bands at Western Carolina University David Starnes, he said.
The Bands of America-sponsored event hosts an honor band that marches in a parade every four years, from which 300 students were selected in April. Seelman is working on fundraising for the trip, that he estimates to be at least $1,700 — an amount which doesn’t include a plane ticket back and food costs.
Across the county at Lincolnton High, three students have their eyes set on Disney Land, the Rose Bowl football game and the other activities they will take part in while away.
A junior, 16-year-old tuba player Jeffrey Watts, has been working on scraping together the dollars for the seven-day excursion in December. He has been doing yardwork around his neighborhood and for anyone who needs it, while also selling cookie dough through a Music for All fundraiser. So far he estimates to have raised about $80, but is still trekking toward his overall goal of funding the trip.
Watts has been in band for five years and plans on furthering his musical career by majoring in music education at Western Carolina in the future, he said.
Jasmine Rogers,17 and also a Western Carolina hopeful, will be heading west to play her clarinet and represent LHS as well.
“I love football and can’t wait for the game, but I’m really excited for Disney Land,” Rogers told the Times-News on Thursday.
An eight-year member of school bands, Rogers was chosen for Chancellor’s Choice — a way to help recipients receive scholarships and grants to play music in college based on what “they have done in band,” she explained.
Band Director at LHS Josh Belvin is excited for his students to be accepted for the opportunity.
“It (this event) is important, because it gives the students recognition for their hard work; it’s fulfilling for them to have that experience and travel out of the state,” Belvin said.
“These kids are sitting at the top of their sections. This will give them the chance to get that extra competition and to work with a high caliber of musicians.”
The Dr. Seuss-themed parade, which is celebrating its 124th year, will march to the Rose Bowl stadium amidst a line of floral-inspired floats, assemblies of horses and the marching band of nation-wide band students.
Senior and piccolo-player Shelly Painter was the last and most recent member of the LHS group to be chosen. Painter found out last week that she was added to the roster and would be adding the parade to her musical resume. She was sent equipment to record a piece for submission earlier in the year, she explained, and was later notified that she would have a spot with Watts and Rogers.
Excited to meet others with similar interests and to see what other band members are doing and working on, Painter can’t wait for the experience. She, too, plans on attending Western Carolina with her two peers, and will pick a music-related major. As to whether or not she will teach or take the performance route, only time will tell.
Other local youth who will be performing: Addie and Jake Ballard of East Lincoln High, and West Lincoln’s Cory Cook, Robert Doehling and Ryan Knight.
The students will depart Dec. 27 and will be back Jan. 3. Those interested in making donations, contact the high school band director of the desired student to sponsor.