Right behind the opening banner in Monday's Tournament of Roses Parade eight Miami High School students will march as part of the Oklahoma All-Star Centennial Band.
Casey Cunningham, Clint Dismore, Robert Brennfoerder Dodson, Tyler Johnson, Cameron Mabury, Ettore Rastelli, Oliver Stout and Clayton Windle are members of the 150-member band that was created by the state's Centennial Committee to promote Oklahoma's 100th-year celebration through music.
This is the first time in the history of the Rose Parade that a band has performed on the opening ceremony stage.
One musical selection they will perform is the original music of this year's parade theme “Our Good Nature.
There are no competitions or special contests for the group, it is all about entertaining and providing a spirit of enthusiasm for the state in which they proudly live.
The band members will serve as musical ambassadors for the state until the end of 2007.
The students had only one intensive rehearsal period in 2006 - a July band camp at the University of Oklahoma.
Their first performance was in September at Oklahoma City University with a second in November in Tulsa.
Miami High School band teacher Charles Beard expressed pride in his students.
“We have a very, very strong band program, he said. “I'm never embarrassed if a student has to transfer (to another band program.) They all do well.
“The centennial band has 150 members from across the state of Oklahoma. Eight of them are from Miami High School. Only one city (Talequah) in the state has more students as members in the band.
“I'm very excited about playing in the band, Mabury said. “My parents are excited for me.
“This will be my first time in California, Rastelli said. “I'm excited about going and the opportunity to see friends I've already made during practice.
For Dodson, visiting California will be like “old home week - he came from there.
“But, our schedule is so tight, I don't think I'll have the chance to see anyone, he said.
Cunningham is just a little concerned about the length of the parade.
“We're going to have to walk almost seven miles, he said. “That's going to be tough.
“I've been doing some walking, but parades around here are usually just a mile or two.
Stout's parents started the trip to California several days before he did.
“They went to Kansas City and took the Amtrak, he said. “I'm a little jealous, I'd like to take that ride.
Johnson began playing the trumpet because his parents wouldn't let him play the drums.
Cunningham plays the tuba and is the son of Delphin and Grace Cunningham and the brother of Bucky Cunningham.
A junior, he has been a member of the Northeast District Honor Band three times and all-state finalist twice receiving superior ratings in at district and at state levels.
Trumpet player Dismore is the son of J.R. and Vicki Dismore and Susan Dismore, and the brother of April Offutt, Nicole Dismore, Jessica and Jeremy Funk and Shawn and Patrick Evans.
The junior has been a member of the Northeast District Honor Band three times and the Four-State Honor Band twice, receiving district and state superior ratings and the Gummy Bear award.
Dodson plays the French horn and is the son of Lynn and Mary Brennfoerder and the brother of Cody and Shane Brennfoerder and Randy Dodson.
A junior, he has been a member of the Northeast District Honor Band, a member of the Four-State Honor Band, an all-state finalist twice, has received a superior rating at the state and district levels.
Johnson, a trumpeter, is the son of Lawrence and Lynnette Johnson and the brother of Meghan, Matthew and Dylan.
A sophomore, he started playing the trumpet in Idabel and continued after moving to Miami. He has qualified for all-district band for the last three years and has received a superior rating the last three years.
Mabury, a trumpeter, is the son of Chris and Debra Mabury and the brother of Nicholas, Brandon and Samantha.
A junior, he was all-district alternate in the ninth grade.
Trombone player Rastelli is a junior and the son of Lee and Carrie Rastelli. He has been a Northeast District Honor Band member five times, received superior ratings at district and an all-state finalist twice.
Oliver Stout, trumpeter, is the son of Dr. Patrick and Jessica Stout and the brother of Wesley, Mattie, Charlotte and Fiona.
A sophomore, he has been in the Northeast District Honor Band four times and was recently accepted into the Oklahoma High School All-State Honor Band.
Tuba player Windle is the son of David and Sandra Windle and the brother of Dustin and Heather.
A senior, he has been a member of Northeast District Honor band five times, received superior ratings at district and state levels and qualified for all-state band twice.