The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

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The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

Pathfinder

The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

Pathfinder

Senior Kyle Schultz marches away six days in California with the Bands of America Honor Band

Senior Kyle Schultz and the band practice indoors at Parent Preview at the VIP Hotel due to the rain. Schultz, a bass drummer, proudly wore his tournament uniform, consisting of a red shako cover, a red hipcape and a red undershirt. “I was standing at attention listening to the winds play their rendition of ‘For Good’ from the musical ‘Wicked, it was amazing, one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard performed live,’” Schultz said.
Photo courtesy of Kyle Schultz
Senior Kyle Schultz and the band practice indoors at Parent Preview at the VIP Hotel due to the rain. Schultz, a bass drummer, proudly wore his tournament uniform, consisting of a red shako cover, a red hipcape and a red undershirt. “I was standing at attention listening to the winds play their rendition of ‘For Good’ from the musical ‘Wicked, it was amazing, one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard performed live,’” Schultz said.

How long had you waited for this trip? 

“Since December 2020, which was well over a year ago.”

What did arrival look like? (Monday, Dec. 27) 

“First, we woke up at 3 a.m. for a 6:45 flight to Los Angeles. Then we landed at 9:00 pacific time and took a 10:30 shuttle to the hotel. At 11:30, we got all of our uniforms, and to say the least, it was a controlled chaos. There were 300 students that needed uniforms. Around 40 of the students couldn’t come until later or the next day due to Michigan’s snow storms causing delays and cancellations, but everyone was there by noon. Once everyone got there, we had a huge orientation. We were all excited to be in Cali.”

What did preparation for the parade and performances look like? 

“We rehearsed for hours every single day leading up to performances. To practice we went to Costa Mesa High School, Angel Stadium, Colony High school and Hyatt at Long Beach. At Costa Mesa we had a leadership seminar. They talked about how to be a leader, how to be that person people look up to and how you can perfect that persona. At Angel Stadium, where the Los Angeles Angels play, we marched around the stadium, which was really cool. At Colony, we split up and rehearsed. It was cool to see all these people working and could make us feel comfortable and welcome. It showed how much they cared about our experience there.”

With the cancellation of Bandfest, what did you do instead?

“We woke up at 5:30 a.m. and it was still raining, so bandfest was completely cancelled. We had nothing but rehearsal up until 11:30 a.m.. After that we went to the farmers market with this collection of buildings with Chinese, Japanese, sushi, rice, cookies, donuts- there was a donut as big as my hand and I loved it. Then we went to Santa Monica Pier where they had a carousel, roller coasters and more. The unvaccinated had to get tested per Rose Tourney guidelines, and thankfully no one tested positive. Afterwards, we went to a cinema in Anaheim and the entire band got a private showing of ‘Spider-Man No Way Home,’ which was amazing since I’m a big Marvel fan.”

What was your experience like at DisneyLand?

“We woke up at 7 a.m. to go backstage at Disney. It was amazing to see how many people were working backstage to make the experience magical for everyone, including us. We then went to the main square and performed.”

How did you celebrate New Years on your trip?

“We stayed up for the New York Ball Drop, watching with the band members from the hotel’s ballroom.”

What did the day of the parade look like?

“We all woke up at 3:00 a.m. and ate a breakfast designed to be eaten in full uniform. We were the second band to perform, so we had to get there really early. We arrived at about 5:00 p.m., unloaded buses and waited 2 hours. TV Corner was half a mile from the parade start, it was fun to cut around that corner and see floats and signs. At the end of the parade, I could not think straight. Once we got back to the hotel we relaxed. Some people took naps, I watched a show with some new friends. We all then got dressed up nice to head to the Hyatt for a banquet where the drum majors had some words. We signed each other’s drum heads. I got to keep the drum head, mallets, blue shaco cover, marching shoes, sponsor T-shirts and air drumsticks. We didn’t get to keep the uniforms because they decided they will keep the uniforms for more years to come.”

Marching 5.5 miles, senior Kyle Schultz and approximately 299 others cross TV Corner. Relieved to see the American Red Cross with water cups to rehydrate, Schultz could not believe it was over. “No matter how strong or tired we all were, we were able to finish marching,” Schultz said. (Photo courtesy of Kyle Schultz)

What was the coolest thing about the parade?

“The coolest thing about the parade was the size of the event. It’s just amazing to see how it all comes together and how coordinated the staff was. It starts like two to three miles from the drop off point when you’re escorted by a motorcycle to the drop point. Then they rush the buses to the end while you’re slowly walking up Orange Grove to the start.”

What was your favorite item you got to keep?

“My favorite item I got to keep was either the bass drum head or the bass drum mallets. The drum head reminds me that no matter what you do you’re in it as a team. The mallets remind me that no matter what, keep calm and keep playing.”

Did you make any new friends?

“It was impossible to not make any new friends. We mostly sat next to each other and hung out at the events. A majority of the band is on a group chat that we will keep texting on. There were people from all over the country. I met some people from New York, and even one from Alaska.”

What was your favorite memory from your trip?

“So many great memories were made with the Bands of America Honor Band, but I think the best memory was making that turn on TV Corner from Orange Grove Boulevard onto Colorado. That was amazing just because it’s the place that everyone in the nation sees.”

Was it everything you expected? More? 

“Unfortunately, because of the rain, we could not make it to Huntington Beach nor the Griffith Observatory, however instead we went to Santa Monica Pier and we got to see the new ‘Spider Man: No Way Home’ movie in a private screening. Due to the weather we also didn’t see the Rose Bowl stadium.”

What did you take away from this experience? 

“From this experience I take away the dedication and the sacrifices that have to be made to do the things I love to do. I’ve been waiting for this and wanting to do this for quite some time now. This experience proved to me that all my hard work and effort put into marching band over the years has paid off. I appreciate everything that teachers have taught me and the friends I’ve made. [The Bands of America Honor Band] showed me what it’s like to be a part of a much bigger, nationally known band. I learned how to adjust and cooperate with new people. Even in the setbacks, I think this was an amazing experience and I’d love to do it again. I still can’t believe I was a part of this. It was surreal.”

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Makinsey Drake, Staff Writer
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The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High
Senior Kyle Schultz marches away six days in California with the Bands of America Honor Band