ARCADIA, Calif. - It is one of the biggest band events there is and today, the University of Georgia's Redcoat Marching Band will take part in the Tournament of Roses Parade.
"To be a part of the Rose Bowl, to say that we're actually out here in California, it feels like a dream. It's something special for sure," said Antonia Del Sesto, a UGA senior and drum major. "This is the pinnacle for a lot of kids in marching band. I mean, I remember you know, in high school watching the Rose Parade every year and just thinking, 'Man, what a dream that would be to go out and do that.'"
The Redcoats, however, did not have much time to prepare. No one knew the team would be in the Rose Bowl until after the SEC Championship in early December.
"We had one big practice the night before we left and every day since we got out here, we've been coming out here and practicing," explained Ellen Hardin, a junior who plays the trumpet.
The Rose Parade presents an interesting challenge for band members. They march in the UGA Homecoming parade every fall, but the route is between no more than a mile long. The route for Monday's parade stretches 5.5 miles. Band leadership asked people to up their cardio training in preparation.
"Most people I think were more focused on just like trying to be able to march five miles," said Hardin. "I definitely did some like, upper body training and stuff like that because I have to carry my trumpet like this for five miles."
The other big challenge the band will face comes at "TV Corner," the intersection of Orange Grove and Colorado Boulevards where most of the television cameras are set up. The turn is approximately 110 degrees.
"We walked through that and yeah, just really trying to get people on the same page just how big an honor and a deal this is," said Del Sesto. "Once we actually get there, start lining up and actually see the granddaddy that this really is, it's going to be something special."
The Rose Parade runs about two and a half hours.