Rosemount marching band to host March-A-Thon

April 20 event will have them marching door to door

They won’t be playing their instruments in the streets on Saturday, April 20, but members of the Rosemount High School marching band will deploy in teams in an attempt to raise money to help fund their 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade performance.

The Rosemount High School marching band performs during the 2012 Rosemount Leprechaun Days Grand Parade. The band is raising money to help fund its trip to perform in the 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade, which is 5.5 miles long. The Leprechaun Days parade route is only a mile long. (Photo by Rick Orndorf)

The Rosemount High School marching band performs during the 2012 Rosemount Leprechaun Days Grand Parade. The band is raising money to help fund its trip to perform in the 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade, which is 5.5 miles long. The Leprechaun Days parade route is only a mile long. (Photo by Rick Orndorf)

The RHS March-A-Thon will have the band’s 200 members marching door to door in neighborhoods the high school serves to defray the estimated $2,000 per student cost to make the California trip.

“We have a large percentage of kids whose families are not going to be able to pay for this out of their pockets,” band director Steve Olsen said.

The school wanted to give every marching band student the opportunity to attend, and much of that will hinge on their ability to raise funds.

“There is a lot of excitement,” Olsen said. “They are excited about the opportunity.”

“The full impact of what we’re going to get to do still hasn’t quite hit yet,” said Jessie Cox, who will be one of the four drum majors of next year’s band.

“I know we’ll be performing live in front of millions of people, but it still doesn’t seem real, and it probably won’t until the morning of when we’re all suiting up and loading the buses to head to the parade route,” she said. “But even though it doesn’t seem real, it’s extremely exciting. I personally cannot wait. I’m more excited about the Rose Bowl than I am that next year is my senior year. I know that goes for a lot of my friends, too.”

Olsen hopes that excitement carries over to the next two hurdles – fundraising and preparing the show through the 2013 winter months long after the marching band season ends in October.

He’s confident the enticement of performing in one of the premier parades in the world will be enough incentive to propel the students in their efforts and encourage people to give.

“This is the Super Bowl for high school marching bands,” Olsen said of the internationally televised parade in Pasadena that is viewed by millions of people in 220 countries.

Tens of thousands of 2014 grandstand seat tickets were sold in just a few hours Feb. 1 when sales started. About 700,000 people watch the parade in person.

Money collected during fundraising events will be placed in a fund to ensure all marching band students can attend the trip, which will also include their own performances at a field show and at Disneyland, visits to area attractions like the Rose Bowl stadium and museums.

Donors contributing $20 or more receive will receive an official “2014 Minnesota RHS Marching Band Tournament of Roses Parade” window cling. Those donating $50 or more will receive a lapel pin customized for the band’s participation in the Tournament of Roses Parade.

In addition to flat donations, people can make pledge amounts for each mile marched in the parade. The parade route is 5.5 miles long.

The Rosemount Leprechaun Days Grand Parade, which the band has performed in annually for several years, has a route that is only one mile long. If it were 5.5 miles long, the route would have to go down Chili/Chippendale Avenue to 160th Street/County Road 46 and loop back around on Highway 3 and end at the Irish Sports Dome, where the band will practice this winter.

The band is expected to practice for more than 400 hours to prepare for the parade, including time spent inside the dome after the marching band season ends in October.

“We are confident that we are going to do very well,” Olsen said. “The kids are going to put in a lot of work, effort and time.”

He said the students are going to be working on strength, conditioning and endurance activities because of the parade route length.

“They will be performing with no breaks on the parade route,” he said. “That’s the grueling part and the challenge.”

Jessie, a junior who plays the flute, said it is difficult to make a performance perfect because of all the little nuances that have to be attended to.

“Everything has to be perfectly in sync, and because you’re working with 200 people who are all different, that can be a real challenge,” she said.

Olsen said the students welcome the challenge whether it be perfecting their performance or raising thousands of dollars to make the trip possible.

Checks can be made payable to: District 196 Foundation – RHS (donations are tax deductible to the full extent allowable by law) and mailed to: RHS Band, 3335 142nd St. W., Rosemount, MN 55068. Donations can also be made via the band’s website, www.rosemountband.com.

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