ActivePaper Archive COMING UP ROSES - Colo Spgs Gazette, 1/11/2017


AAHS band selected to repeat parade performance


The 1992 AAHS marching band poses after marching in the 1992 Rose Parade. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Hock Musselman


The Air Academy marching band performs at the Cañon City Music and Blossom Festival in May. Photo courtesy of Melony Black


The Air Academy marching band and color guard perform at the Cañon City Music and Blossom Festival in May. Photo courtesy of Melony Black

The Air Academy High School marching band has been selected to march in the 2018 Tournament of Roses Parade. The marching band is one of only 10 national high school marching bands to be invited to march in the parade and the only band selected from Colorado. “It’s an incredible honor,” said Air Academy Band Director Stoney Black.

The Air Academy marching band was previously selected to march in the parade in 1992.

“I’m getting calls and emails from the ’92 band members, now in their 40s, saying that it was the greatest experience of their high school years,” Black said.

The band started the application process over a year ago. “We learned a set of popular music that would be appealing to the crowd,” said Air Academy junior Abbey Nudi. “We practiced marching the bus route in the school parking lot and marching around the school to demonstrate that we could march a route and turn corners.” Black took video of the band performing the routine in uniform and submitted the application to the selection committee.

“We also had to talk about what makes us unique; we tried to really make our band stick out by emphasizing things like our proximity to the Air Force Academy, our position in the community, the support we have from our peers,” Nudi said.

The band waited expectantly to hear if they had been chosen to participate in the tournament parade. “We weren’t sure if we were going to make it: we watched as other bands were selected but still hadn’t heard any news,” Nudi said. “Then one day, Mr. Black surprised us with a video from the Tournament of Roses president inviting us to march in the parade. We were all so excited.”

In the video, incoming Tournament of Roses President Lance Tibbet applauded the band’s high degree of excellence and said: “Every year, the music committee has the difficult task of choosing outstanding bands from all of the bands that apply, hoping and dreaming to be part of the iconic Rose Parade. It’s a tough task. But, after reviewing musicianship, showmanship, entertainment value, your band ranks very high. You also exemplify a belief in the power of kindness by helping each other as a team, and individually, you make your band excel. You also make the difference in your school and community. As a result of exemplifying and believing in the power of kindness and our outstanding musicians and performers, it is my pleasure to invite you to participate in the Jan. 1, 2018, Rose Parade. Congratulations.”

Stoney and his wife Melony Black recently traveled to California to preview the event. “Stoney and I were invited to spend five days in Pasadena,” Melony said. “We met the president-elect of the Rose Parade. We had dinner at the Tournament House, and Stoney received a ton of information: cost, fundraising ideas, BandFest information, parade route, etc. Disney invited the band to march at Disneyland while we are there, too. It was a great experience.”

Stoney said he expects more than 300 band members, parent chaperones and family members will travel to Pasadena next January for the event. “Traveling to California will obviously be an enormous expense, and we will need help from the Colorado Springs community to make it happen,” he said. “We will be having numerous fundraisers throughout the next year, including a Marcha-thon, a banquet and silent auction and postcard donation requests. In addition, we have a donation page on our website,”

The trip is certain to be a memorable experience for the students. “I was a junior when we went to march in the parade in ’92,” said former band member Martin Hedba. “The band had only started entering competitions two years prior to that, and we were just tickled to be invited. The whole experience was surreal — marching in the parade, being away from home for a week, experiencing lots of different things.” “The band is pumped for the trip,” said sophomore band member Jordan Lowder. “Colorado is generally not known for having outstanding high school marching bands. To me, this is an opportunity to put our school and Colorado in general on the map.” “We all put our heart and soul into our marching band program,” said Nudi. “It’s so great to be recognized on a national scale.”