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“KIDS-YOU WERE GREAT TODAY”

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The world celebrated and welcomed the new year at midnight this morning, with each country, city, and individual finding their own special way to usher in the year 2003. Some joined the 750,000 in Times Square, others joined friends and family in the comfort of their own homes, and numerous more found that special place in a town far away from home.

For the Spartan Alliance Band, that "special place" was bed.

An early morning and a tough workout awaited the band today; leaving their hotel around 5 a.m. to begin their journey down the lengthy Tournament of Roses parade route. All said and done, the band will have marched at least 8 miles by the end of today, and almost 10 miles over the course of the trip. Practices for the last 6 months finally culminated for one final event on Homestead's 2002-2003 tour today, and Director Steve Barber couldn't have been more proud.

"Kids – you were great today... You brought a tear to my eye when we were coming down the parade route." Barber said in a speech to the band during dinner Wednesday night. He thanked the parents and chaperones for their continued and unconditional support of the program, as well as this trip. "You've turned a dream into reality," he said.

Countless time and effort went into the creation of the trip, and Barber longed to make it something his students would remember for a lifetime to come. But what comes around goes around: "I told you we wanted to give you a memory you'd never forget, a lifelong memory," Barber spoke as his voice began to break-up, "And I just wanted to take this time to thank you for giving us the same exact memory."

He was consoled with a round of loud applause.

As the band proceeded towards the television and radio corner of Colorado Boulevard and Orange Grove, the bright Californian sun danced upon the silver speckles of the band uniforms. A unit of one: leg by leg, note by note, beat by beat, the band continued to make its way down the street into the paths of cameras from the country's biggest television networks and press agencies. A rich sound of musical power poured through the grandstands and down the street, grasping the attention of even the most oblivious bystander. They continued to make their way down the streets of Pasadena, and to the end of their journey many miles later.

Most students agreed that the venture wasn't extremely difficult, thanks in part to a crisp winter air circulating through the city. Although not challenging, many found that the venture was exhausting.

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