Enjoy comments from WCU students who marched in the 2011 Rose Parade and the fans who went to see them. Several comments reference the sharp turn in the 5.5-mile route – a 110-degree turn on to Colorado Boulevard.

“When we made the turn, there were people just lined up,” said Rachel Rimmer, a senior band staff coordinator majoring in music education from Siler City. “It was incredible, and we could see people’s reactions. I couldn’t believe how excited people were. You could hear them yelling for us. When we were allowed to take a break, our drumline was high-fiving kids, and we were talking to people in the crowd. When we finished, we swarmed the American Red Cross for water.”

The Western Carolina University Pride of the Mountains Marching Band participates in the 2011 Rose Parade. (Photo from WCU Chancellor John W. Bardo)

The Western Carolina University Pride of the Mountains Marching Band participates in the 2011 Rose Parade. (Photo from WCU Chancellor John W. Bardo)

“We had people stopping to take pictures with us when we were marking time, and little kids were like, ‘Don’t step in the poo’ (from the horses),” said Whitney Hinceman, a senior piccolo player from Mooresville. “We couldn’t avoid it, but there was, at times, a small swerve effect.”

Parents of Lindsey D. Entrekin, a freshman clarinet player from Greensboro, said they were excited to come to the Rose Parade and that the college bands that marched really set the bar high for marching bands.

“I have been nothing but impressed with the band and their talent ever since I saw them for the first time, and I am as proud as if I were a parent of a member of the band,” said Hilda Leonard of Ramseur, who came to the parade with friend Kathy Parham, whose daughter is in the band.

“I am very proud and partial about our band,” said Betty Allen, president of the WCU Alumni Association. “They are fantastic, but today, in that parade, they exceeded my expectations, and my expectations are high. I was just in awe.”

“It was awesome,” said Chris Wilson, a senior trombone section leader from Weaverville. “It’s mind-boggling to think about so many people coming to see something like that.”

“I had never seen so many people in my life,” said Hannah Austin, sophomore drum major majoring in music education from Penrose. “I did not feel nervous at all, just excited. We couldn’t believe the day had actually come –that our hard work was paying off for the world to see. … It didn’t feel as long as I expected, but I am feeling (some soreness) now in my feet, ankles and calves. I think a lot of us will be taking naps or hitting the hot tub at the hotel before the band banquet.”

“We were required to unload our 400 people and all of that equipment in seven minutes before the parade. We did it in five,” said Bob Buckner, director of the Western Carolina University Pride of the Mountains Marching Band.  “When we turned, it hit me we were in a big parade. The crowd was fun. When I would wave, as many as 70 people might wave back. And even though we were 2,500 miles from Cullowhee, when we played the fight song people chanted ‘Go Western.’ I got pretty emotional. I was just so proud about being from Western and doing this. I am just really happy.”

“This was an amazing way to finish off our marching career,” said Richard Huffman, a senior trombone player from Hickory. “It’s been really emotional… seeing everyone clapping when we got back. We’re always going to be able to say ‘I was in the Rose Parade. I remember that corner. I remember seeing those people’ I will always have that.”