GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — One Gwinnett school has become the first in the county to be invited to attend one of the biggest New Year parades. Brookwood High School in Snellville, Georgia will start 2023 in Pasadena, California as they join the 20 marching bands that will be performing in the 134th Rose Parade on January 2 next year.
Band Director Laura Moates Stanley has been with the Brookwood High School band for 20 years. She said their journey toward the Rose Parade began in 2018 when the school first applied.
The band chose to apply again, finally getting a 'yes' in October of 2021.
The parade's theme will be 'Turning the Corner,' to celebrate the unlimited potential that each new year brings, and a theme that resonates with the band.
According to Stanley, it might take marching bands seven to eight tries before they are chosen to participate, making it a meaningful accomplishment for her students.
"So the chances of getting into the Rose Parade aren't as big as what a normal parade would bring," said Stanley. "You have to apply to get into those parades, and it's a big deal if you're invited."
Bands from all over the world are chosen and will travel to California to march down Orange Grove and Colorado Boulevard, for the five-and-a-half-mile parade.
Brookwood High School is first Gwinnett band to be invited to Rose Parade
Stanley said that since discovering that Brookwood would be attending, the band has begun training for their performance and most importantly, fundraising.
The director said that each student must pay $2,800 to attend the seven-day trip. The band plans to arrive in Pasadena on Dec. 28th and return home on January 3, 2023.
In order to raise money, the high school band has partnered up with PayPal and is accepting donations via a link on their website.
Her hope is that all 230 students enrolled in the marching band are able to participate and go on this once-in-a-lifetime trip.
"I probably have about 20 students that have not signed up for the Rose Parade because the finances. I mean, times are hard. It's very difficult and it's a lot of money, and I would just hate for them to miss out on a trip of a lifetime," said Stanley.
She said with an opportunity like this, anything helps.
"So just any type of donation is the best donation and the most appreciative donation so that we can help all these kids go on the trip of a lifetime and we can present Georgia in the best way possible," she said.
The Brookwood broncos will walk alongside bands from China, Italy, Japan, Mexico and Panama at the parade. Participants are selected every year by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, the non-profit that organizes the New Year parade.
Those selected are chosen by the Association's volunteer members based on a variety of criteria including musicianship, marching ability and entertainment or special interest value.
To learn more about The Brookwood High School band and how to help click here.