2009 Tournament of the Roses: Part 2

6 01 2009

Rose Bowl LogoAfter returning home from Pasadena, I gotta say that despite Penn State losing the actual Rose Bowl game, I still had an awesome time, as did pretty much everyone else in the group that I traveled with.

After getting off the plane which flew us out from State College, the first thing that got me was how beautiful the weather was there. For the whole trip (more well put, a vacation), the temperatures were in the mid 70s throughout the day, and evenings were nice and cool, just cool enough to be able to wear jeans and a t-shirt outside comfortably. Couldn’t find a cloud in the sky my whole time there. The scenery of the area also caught me as quite breathtaking. Temperate zone plants would cover pretty sweet looking hills off in the distance where civilization had yet to hit, with snow capped mountains even farther off which gave a neat contrast from this place which seemed like paradise.

Some palm trees in Pasadena

Picture I took of some palm trees in Pasadena

Upon leaving the airport, we filed into some buses to get to our hotels. The highways in and around Los Angeles were kinda neat, just seeing how many luxury cars there were.  I’d never seen so many Ferraris and Porsches in my life.  One got the feeling there was a lot of money circulating around this area.  I mean it is home to Beverly Hills, Hollywood, etc.  We even got a brief look down some of the nicest real estate in the U.S. down Sunset Boulevard.

Then we got to our hotel (The Sheraton Universal) which was more than nice, and had great location as it was only a short walk away from Universal Studios.  After settling in, and a band practice section at a local community college, we played at and went to Disneyland and Universal Studios in the following days.  Both were really great experiences, and Universal Studios even had the park open a couple hours late for us, decked out with PSU decorations, and celebratory things to bring in the new year of ’09.

Disneyland castle at night

Disneyland castle at night

The next day was the largest of them all, as the Blue Band was marching in the Rose Parade.  It was 5.5 miles long, and despite that, it actually wasn’t too bad for me.  Our whole band got through without a single member passing out, which against the odds I believe (a total of 30 were hospitalized for heat prostration – http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_11350952)  It took over 2 hours of playing an instrument, dancing, and marching, but was worth it, and an honor to march in.  Directly after the parade, we played at a pep rally outside the Rose Bowl stadium, and then we were straight off to the game.

Upon entering the stadium, I wasn’t all too impressed with the size of the place (nothing seems big after performing in Beaver Stadium the whole season) but they had the place done up very nicely.  We proceeded to perform our pregame show, which went very well, and was quite a rush for me with all the surrounding media coverage and devout fans.  Then the game began, and I was…frustrated, to say the least…about how things were going for the team.  USC was a very skilled team with a lot of talent.  After the second quarter we ran our halftime show, and after that watched as we had a small bit of a comeback, but lost in the end, final score 38-24.

Despite that loss, I still had one of the best experiences of my life during the days I was there, and hope to get the opportunity to make a trip out to Pasadena once again.

Here’s a link to us marching the Rose Parade, courtesy of KTLA —  http://www.ktla.com/roseparade_landing/?Penn-State-Blue-Band=1&blockID=172772&feedID=2050


2009 Tournament of Roses: Part 1

21 12 2008

Rose Bowl LogoSo the Rose Bowl is coming up soon, and it hasn’t really hit me yet that I’m really going there (sunny Pasadena, California) yet.  A year and a half ago I would have never thought that i’d be given the opportunity to perform at, let alone attend, a BCS bowl game at all.  Being in a college marching band certainly can yield great benefits, especially when the football team is doing exceptionally well.  Anyways, I’ve been looking around at stuff to do in the area and it looks like this is shaping up to be a very, very nice experience for anyone who will be in attendance for this game.  The fact that we’re now playing USC (after Oregon State got upset) means to me that this should be a very good game.  Instead of playing a team we already beat in our regular season, we now face a more formidable adversary.  Penn State will also be in hostile territory once again, as if last year’s Alamo bowl against Texas A&M wasn’t enough.  If all goes well I think we’ll pull off a win.  I know we can do it, it’s just a matter of getting it done.  LET’S GO STATE!  By the way, tomorrow (30 minutes from now as I type this) is Joe Paterno’s 82nd birthday, and for a present he got a contract to coach for three more years!  He’ll never quit, he’s a man who truly loves what he does.  Happy birthday JoePa.


Also:  Congrats to the Penn State Women’s Volleyball team!  2nd consecutive national title after beating Stanford at the national championship tournament in Nebraska, coming from a 63 game winning streak.  Deemed the best team in NCAA history for women’s volleyball.  So awesome.  It’s a great time to be a Penn State student.