SAN ANTONIO – Hundreds of local high school students are headed to Pasadena, California, for the opportunity of a lifetime.
The Ronald Reagan High School marching band was selected to perform at the Rose Parade on New Year's Day in front of millions of people worldwide.
The band is the only Texas marching band to be selected to perform in the Rose Parade this year.
It's a spectacle projected to be seen by more than 70 million people around the world, a truly special honor for these students.
"I don't even know what to think. I mean, when we first got announced, we get to attend this trip, it was something so mind-shattering for all of us," drum major Kurt Lautenshlager said.
The students were surprised to be chosen to perform not only because it's a huge honor, but also because they were selected in a unique way.
"We performed at a national competition last year and the Rose committee liked our show a lot, and they came by and invited us to perform based on that, so when we received the invitation, it was part of this grand national competition, so it made the feeling even more special," band director Mason Daffine said.
There are about 320 students who have worked tirelessly to get to one of the biggest stages for marching bands.
"We all know what we are working towards. The mindset during practice has been super focused, we even had a rehearsal the day after Christmas," clarinet player Phillip Leclair said. "Just rep after rep, it's been exhausting, but it's been worthwhile."
The students are thrilled for this opportunity, and for some, it's the pinnacle of their marching band career.
"We've never been on the sort of stage ever performing, so just marching alongside the floats at this crazy place will be amazing," Leclair said.
But they are prepared and eager to show the world what they can do.
"I think we've done everything in rehearsal and we are ready now," Lautenshlager said.