After only four weeks of minimal practice, 35 students from the Lancer Band travelled to Rome, Italy to perform in a parade on New Year’s day.
On Jan. 1st, the Thousand Oaks High School band had the opportunity to be part of a parade in the streets of Rome. They arrived in Italy on Dec. 27th and left Jan. 4th, and spending the other days sightseeing in famous locations like Florence, Pisa, Vatican City, and Pompeii.
“It was pretty good and I think it was a good opportunity for everyone that decided to go,” sophomore color guard performer Millie Shukla said.
Along with performing with the band, going to Europe in high school was a great cultural education for many students.
“The Italy trip was an experience that allowed students to partake in a cultural immersion that we rarely could in the US,” said junior clarinet player Eadan Dury.
Near the end of the trip, the band even got to meet the European relatives of Mr. Martone, the band director.
“They were so receptive of us and kind that it was really memorable for everyone,” Dury said. “We marched down their village and they had a bagpipe and recorder group perform for us which was really cool.”
In preparation of the performance, the 35 students going on the trip rehearsed from 6:30 to 8pm every Monday for four weeks. Sophomore clarinet player Noeloni Ramiscal noted the difficulties of practicing marching at night and without a full band.
“Not everyone was able to make the rehearsal, so I don’t think we ever practiced with a full band,” Ramiscal said. “And there were times when we practiced marching outside in the freezing cold.”
However, the difficult practices were worth it when it came time to perform in Italy.
“Marching in the Rome parade was different from doing a parade here and I found that experience really memorable,” Shukla said. “The parade route was pretty interesting with many historical sites.”
Also, the parade in Rome was much more relaxed than the American ones the band usually performs in.
“It didn’t feel like an American parade or a normal parade because we were allowed to smile and wave at people,” Ramiscal said.
However, there were some unanticipated difficulties of marching in an old city. The cobblestone streets were smaller than the band was used to and they had to adjust to fit between buildings.
“We had to march on cobbled streets and people that were watching often got really close to the performers,” Shukla said.
Despite these obstacles, most agree that the parade was a lot of fun and a great experience.
“Performing away from home is something most performers have to do and get used to,” Ramiscal said. “The parade was so much fun.”