The Mesa High School Marching Band continued to ride its wave of success with an invitation and performance at an NCAA bowl game.
The band has done so well that they were invited to play in the pregame performance at the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, Calif., on Dec. 31. Mesa High earned the invite after taking first place in its division at a competition before the Holiday Bowl. It also outscored all schools invited to march.
Robert Brooks, band director at Mesa High School, said the band performed well at the bowl game, even though it had issues getting to San Diego. The biggest challenge the band faced in its trip to the Holiday Bowl — one that also featured an appearance by the Arizona State University football team — was raising enough money to get everyone to San Diego. Brooks said everyone has to be committed to the cause and attend — otherwise their show would have gaps.
“One of the ways we have been successful is by not omitting ourselves from challenges. Just to do things anyway,” he said. “That’s worked really well for us.”
The challenges are par for the course for the resilient band; it has grown from a struggling group of 35 to an award-winning band of 94 students in the last seven years.
After finding out the results of the competition ahead of the game, the members of the band were unsurprised but still proud of their performance, Brooks said.
“We really try hard to not make what we do about winning because we work really hard at being the best at who we are,” he said. “If we do that then that’s enough for us.”
• Shelby Slade is a sophomore at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She is an intern with the Tribune this semester. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.