Six members of the Jasper High School marching band will be among 300 musicians from across the U.S. to march in the 2022 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on New Year’s Day.
The six — Kerri Painter, Jackson Painter, Alexis Vines, Blake Barnes, Caleb Freeman and A.J. Kell — were selected to be a part of the prestigious 2022 Bands of America Honor Band that will march in the parade.
“It’s a huge honor for these kids,” said Jasper High band director Jason Lipscomb. “It’s definitely a very select group.”
Band members had to go through a rigorous audition process to earn a spot in the Bands of America Honor Band. “They had to audition with a video recording that was sent to the directors of the program,” Lipscomb said. “Even without all the COVID restrictions, the auditions would still have been done this way because it involves kids from across the country.”
Lipscomb said selecting musicians to be part of the honor band was no doubt a difficult process for those in charge. “They only pick the very best students,” he said. “If you look at the list of kids selected, you see they’re from some of the very best bands in the country.”
To have one Jasper High band member selected for the Bands of America Honor Band would have been a big deal, Lipscomb said. Having six is “a really, really big deal.”
“It’s such as honor to have six kids from the same high school band selected,” Lipscomb said. “I really didn’t expect it to happen.”
“I know they worked really hard on their audition music,” he added, “but I never would have imagined we would have six selected.”
Online rehearsals will be held over the next few months to get the musicians ready for their performance. “Each section has an instructor and will be working on their music before they ever get to California,” Lipscomb said. “They’ve already started that process.”
Lipscomb said band members are set to arrive in Pasadena on Monday, Dec. 27, to begin rehearsals for the parade. They will return home on Monday, Jan. 3.
Special highlights of the trip include performances at Disneyland and California Adventure, and guided tours of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Hollywood, with stops to include the Griffith Observatory and the Huntington Beach and Pier.
The Tournament of Roses Parade will be held on Jan. 1, 2022, and is televised each year across the nation. It’s one of the most-watched parades each year.
“The parade route is five and a half miles long,” Lipscomb said. “That’s one of the questions they ask, ‘can you make it for that long a parade?’ That’s a very long parade.”
The cost for each band member to participate is $2,379, not including airfare to and from California. Additional expenses are expected, Lipscomb said.
Because of the cost for the trip, fundraisers are expected to be held over the next few months to help the students with expenses. Businesses or civic organizations that would like to help any of the students with expenses can reach out to Lipscomb by email at [email protected]
“These kids are very excited about this opportunity,” Lipscomb said. “I’m pretty jealous because I never got to do anything like this when I was in high school. This is an opportunity that opens so many doors for them by experiencing something like this.”
All of the musicians will return as members of the Jasper High band for the 2021-2022 school year with the exception of Kell, who graduated last week and will be attending the University of Alabama in the fall.
“I’m so proud of all these kids,” Lipscomb said. “This is something they can put on a resume in the future that will open up even more opportunities for them.”