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Hermiston band sweeps awards at Holiday Bowl parade

The Hermiston High School marching band will return home from San Diego with an armful of trophies on Friday.
Jade McDowell

East Oregonian

Published on December 31, 2015 2:44PM

Hermiston High School took first place in the AA division for the Holiday Bowl parade in San Diego on Wednesday.

Photo contributed by Danielle Harvey

Hermiston High School took first place in the AA division for the Holiday Bowl parade in San Diego on Wednesday.

Hermiston High School took first place in the AA division for the Holiday Bowl parade in San Diego on Wednesday.

Photo contributed by Danielle Harvey

Hermiston High School took first place in the AA division for the Holiday Bowl parade in San Diego on Wednesday.


There is going to be a lot less room in the trophy case after the Hermiston High School marching band returns from their Holiday Bowl trip on Friday.

The band swept every award in their division on Wednesday, beating out nine other schools for the overall grand prize at the San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade in addition to bringing home the first place trophies for best music, best percussion, best color guard, best marching, best drum major and best general effect.

Shaelynn Boyd, a senior who plays percussion in the band, described a scene of jubilation when the band found out they had won everything.

“Everyone was cheering and laughing and crying,” she said.

The announcement came while the band was getting ready to play at the halftime show of the Holiday Bowl Wednesday night, when the nation watched the Wisconsin Badgers beat the USC Trojans 23-21.

Boyd said getting ready for the trip meant a lot of extra practicing and hard work fundraising, but in that moment there were no regrets.

“It was all worth it,” she said. “All the time we put in and the struggles we had, it was all worth it.”

The awards meant a lot to the mentors who went along for the trip, too.

Adrian Rodarte, the band’s color guard instructor, said he was as ecstatic as the kids about the win. Rodarte was captain of the color guard during his senior year at Hermiston High School in 1999-2000 and then watched the band go through a rebuilding period when it didn’t take any major trips again until this year.

“I grew up in Hermiston, and just to see the band come back alive and grow ... it has been just surreal,” he said.

Rodarte said the color guard didn’t have much time to learn the routine for the halftime show after receiving videos of it, and it was also a tight schedule choreographing and learning a routine for the parade, but the group seemed to have taken his words to heart when he pushed them to give it their all.

“I made sure they knew, ‘You need to take this seriously. You’re representing your school and your state,’” he said.

Band director Paul Dunsmoor said he went down to San Diego confident the band would measure up well, but to win first place in every category while competing against nine other similarly sized bands from around the country was a “huge surprise.”

He said he hoped the students gained a lot of self-confidence from the experience and also learned from the other bands they interacted with while rehearsing for the halftime show.

After working hard to help the band shine in San Diego, Dunsmoor won’t soon forget the cheering, crying, hugging and flurry of selfie-taking with the trophies that happened after the awards were handed out.

“They were so excited,” he said. “It was incredible.”

The band will return to Hermiston sometime Friday afternoon, depending on road conditions. For those who want to see the band’s award-winning performance, a national broadcast of the Holiday Bowl Parade will air 5 a.m. Pacific time on Sunday on the Universal HD channel.

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Contact Jade McDowell at jmcdowell@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4536.



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