Four Saugus students selected to participate in Rose Parade

The Saugus band members selected for the Tournament of Roses Honor Band stand with a #SaugusStrong banner. (Left to Right) Jason Treanor, Benjamin Bartel, Rachel Ramirez, Hannah Biane. Courtesy photo.
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Although the audition was nerve-racking and rehearsals have been long, four Saugus High School students have expressed their excitement for being selected to participate in the Tournament of Roses Honor Band.

What began as an audition on Oct. 13, has become a two-and-half-month-long journey to eventually performing a variety of songs in the theme of this year’s Rose Parade — “The Power of Hope” — for millions of people lining Pasadena sidewalks and watching from home.

Saugus High senior Rachel Ramirez, a snare player, junior trumpeter Jason Treanor, sophomore bari saxophonist Benjamin Bartel and freshman trumpeter Hannah Biane were all selected to join the over-200-player band this year.

And while a number of the other high schools in Santa Clarita sent their own band representatives to participate, for the musicians of Saugus High School, this year’s participation had a particular significance for them.

“After my school’s marching season had ended, and especially after the month of November, this helped a lot with the stress,” said Ramirez, in reference to the Saugus High shooting that shook the school and the community to its core on Nov. 14. “It was built up as the great theme of hope.”

“I never felt like dropping out,” said Treanor. “The Sunday after the shooting the band director allowed for that rehearsal to be optional, he gave us a choice if we wanted to come or stay at home and be with family. I still went to rehearsal.”

This year, the honor band was made up of students from Pasadena City College, as well as a number of other talented musicians from high schools across Southern California. With the band keeping in mind the theme of “hope,” the music selections they would play ranged from “It’s a Small World” to “Seize the Day” from the musical “Newsies” to a British march called “Eagle Squadron,” and the song the band plays every year, “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.”

The students involved in the production have had rehearsals every Sunday since November, and as they ramp up to the big show, will have rehearsals or a performance every day from Thursday to the Rose Parade next Wednesday.

However, on Friday, the band was allowed to perform at Disneyland, and be a member of the amusement park cast. After marching from the front of Main Street to the exit near “It’s a Small World,” they were allowed to enjoy the park before heading back home to prepare for Saturday’s rehearsal.

“It’s really fun to be the entertainment for people, and just be somebody’s best part of their day,” said Treanor. “What we do for other people is why I keep coming back.”

Fans of Saugus Marching Band and residents from Santa Clarita can watch the Tournament of Roses Honor band follow the 5-mile-long parade route on Wednesday. The parade kicks off at 8 a.m..

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