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UW band making music and memories in California

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GINA R. HEINE
December 31, 2011
— Disneyland, a New Year’s Eve pep rally, the Rose Parade and, of course, the Rose Bowl.

It’s a memorable weekend of events for Badger fans, but even more special for the 19 area students who get to be a part of it as members of the University of Wisconsin Marching Band.


It’s “extremely exciting” for Craig graduate Alex Nguyen, a freshman trumpet player, because he’s also a big football fan, said his mom, Teresa Nguyen.


“To be able to see the Rose Bowl and perform at halftime is a huge treat,” she said.


Band members only have to bring personal spending money for the all-expenses-paid trip, she said.


Nguyen is one of six Craig graduates in the UW band of about 300. That’s a relatively high number of students hailing from the same high school, she said.


Much of their inspiration came from Craig band director Dave Rush, who “really got them excited about band,” she said.


The band arrived in Pasadena, Calif., on Friday afternoon and immediately unloaded for a performance at Disneyland.


The band’s busy schedule includes:


-- A “Party at the Pier” pep rally this afternoon at the world-famous Santa Monica Pier where thousands of Badger fans are expected.


-- Rose Bowl game kickoff luncheon Sunday with ESPN broadcasters who will present the coaches, student athletes, marching bands and spirit squads of the participating teams.


-- A Fifth Quarter performance New Year’s Day in downtown Los Angeles.


-- Marching in the 123rd Rose Parade, which begins at 10 a.m. central time Monday.


-- Halftime performance in the 98th Rose Bowl game. The Badgers kick off at 4:10 p.m. against the Oregon Ducks.


The Nguyen family plans to watch closely on TV from Janesville. A big-screen TV wasn’t quite enough for Teresa Nguyen during the Big Ten Championship game.


“I was creeping up close to it trying to see him (Alex),” she said of her son. “It’s going to be really exciting, just to watch them in the parade.”



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