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Pulaski High School to represent region in 2024 Rose Parade

Posted at 8:43 PM, Dec 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-26 08:52:45-05
  • Pulaski High's Red Raiders marching band is preparing for a week-long trip to California that will include nearly 6 miles of fast-paced performances in the Rose Parade.
  • Nationwide, only 15 bands were selected — and so the student will be representing a five-state region.
  • Video shows them practicing in Green Bay and to hear what motivates them.

(The following is a longer version of the full broadcast story)

Picture yourself walking almost six miles, carrying five-pound weights, and traveling faster than three miles per hour.

Now, imagine you're doing that in front of millions of people.

I'm Darby McCarthy, and for the fourth time in the last two decades, Pulaski High School's Red Raider Marching Band is heading to Pasadena to do just that in the Rose Parade.

“It's quite an undertaking. It takes a lot of practice and planning,” said director of bands Tom Busch.

The whole process began in January of 2022 when Busch asked the school board for permission to apply for this opportunity.

“And then in September of 2022, we were notified that we were selected as one of the 15 groups from the world to perform in the tournament for 2024,” Busch said.

But Busch says the pressure to qualify is nothing like the new pressure: to perform.

“I would say there's even more pressure. Because we not only represent our school and our community of Pulaski, but we represent the state of Wisconsin and a five-state region,” said Busch.

Band President Kolton White says it's a surreal honor.

“It's kind of crazy to think that we were picked from like five different states,” White said.

He says the band works hard to show that Pasadena made a good choice.

“We do a lot of thorough checking to make sure everybody's prepared for the trip,” said White, over the sounds of a trumpet down the hall.

Busch says this has been a dream of his since he was in eighth grade.

“Something in my head said ‘I want to do that.’ I want to be the director that's good enough to… allow students the opportunity to participate in the Tournament of Roses,” he said.

Busch has made sure that his students have had many opportunities to play in national broadcasts over the years.

“We've done a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Five Packer halftime shows, and this will be our fourth Tournament of Roses,” he said.

Busch says getting there takes a village... because Pulaski helped raise the money for travel.

“If I'm not mistaken, they've been able to support the students at around the $550 mark per person,” said Busch.

And White says a major motivation while traveling there is raising up Pulaski.

“I think we're doing it for them to show what we're all about in the Midwest, and even more in Pulaski,” said White.

Busch says he is most excited about the fact that many of his students will be getting to travel someplace far away to receive the loving attention of a gathered crowd of almost one million people.

And instead of cheering for a game where the band happens to be playing... the band is the reason the crowd will be cheering.