Years from now it’s likely the SM North Marching Band will look back on their high school years and remember this exact week.
While most students are on holiday break the band is on an eight-day, seven-night trip to San Diego and Los Angeles, where they are wrapping up a series of performances.
They marched with hundreds of other students in the Holiday Bowl, the Big Bay Balloon Parade and, come Wednesday, they will march on the streets of Disneyland.
SM North Marching Band Director Chad Reed said he expects the experience will be something his students remember forever.
“I wish I could describe the faces of those kids when they walked through the tunnel of Qualcomm Stadium for the first time getting ready to perform for the Holiday Bowl. They were just absolutely blown away,” Reed said.
The band director said he hasn’t had to check the weather back home often. Several students have given him regular updates as they soak up the sunlight and warmer weather.
“They love the weather,” Reed said. “It was fun to see the kids step off the plane and over half of them had never actually seen a palm tree. And they get off the plane and it is 60 degrees and there are palm trees everywhere.”
The group includes 108 students and 24 adults. Most of them flew to San Diego at 7 a.m. Dec. 26 arriving just in time for the parade. They will return Jan. 2, well before classes resume after the holiday.
However two parents, John Wessling and Katie Bower, had to set out early. The couple left SM North high school on Dec. 22 in a Penske truck loaded with band uniforms and equipment. They will drive it back this week logging thousands of miles before the trip is complete.
The students have already visited several sites during the trip including the San Diego Zoo, Seaworld and Seaport Village. Before leaving they’ll also visit Hollywood and Venice Beach.
And they still have one last marching performance.
On New Year’s Eve the band will march in a noon parade through the streets of Disneyland. After the performance, the students will hang up their uniforms and enjoy the park.
“We’ll be done about 4 p.m. and then we let the kids close the park down. They get to be there until about 2 a.m. in the morning. They usher in the New Year with a huge fireworks display at Disneyland,” Reed said. “It is so much fun to see those kids participate in that.”