The UAHS marching band goes west to play in the Fiesta Bowl parade

By Ally Melnik, ’18

From Dec. 28, 2017 to Jan. 2, 2018, the UAHS marching band had the opportunity to play at the Fiesta Bowl parade in Phoenix, Arizona.

While in Arizona, not only did the band come in second place out of 12 high school bands performing in the parade, but they also visited the Grand Canyon, performed at a homeless shelter and perused surrounding areas such as Sedona and Old Town Scottsdale.

The band was invited to trek the 2.5-mile Fiesta Bowl parade where they performed in front of judges. Despite the pressures of being filmed and having to bear the hot weather in full-wool uniforms, the band did better than expected, according to senior flutist Sophie Gallucci.

“We did a lot better than we expected, because you feel crappy, you’re in the sun… we’re in wool uniforms, but we sounded pretty good, we looked pretty good [and] we got second,” Gallucci said.

In addition to performing in the parade, the band was given the opportunity to play at a homeless shelter as soon as they landed.

“We just played some songs and showed them our instruments,” Gallucci said.

Besides the two performances, students visited places like Sedona and Old Town Scottsdale where they were set loose to eat, shop and tour the respective areas. In Old Town Scottsdale, they had the opportunities to discover a plethora of restaurants and shops to visit. Sedona, on the other hand, offered them the options to hike the famous red rocks as well as go on a pink Jeep tour with their friends throughout the terrain.

“I think [the Jeep tour] was the big thing; that was a lot of fun. A lot of people liked that because it wasn’t what we expected,” Gallucci said.

The band also blocked off roughly 12 hours for a trip to and from the Grand Canyon, where they had to endure a four-hour drive there, followed by a scenic two-hour train ride. They then spent three hours at the canyon and eventually had to make the six-hour ride back.

But one unique opportunity stood out to Gallucci. Since the band was in Arizona on New Year’s Eve, they decided to celebrate in their own special way. Gallucci and her friends bought sparkling apple cider and counted down to the new year on a rooftop deck.

“They let us stay up until 10 [p.m.] because we celebrated New Year’s [in] Ohio time,” Gallucci said.

Although there were negative attitudes towards the price, which was around $1800, double what a normal band trip would be, and the fact that some students wouldn’t be able to go due to financial situations, Gallucci still thought the trip was well-organized and fun.

“I enjoyed it, I had a good time… but I would say there should’ve been more preparation for it in terms of fundraising. I don’t know how long Mr. Edge knew we were invited to it, but that would be my only concern,” Gallucci said.