The Pulaski High School Marching Band is almost ready to depart from Wisconsin to the sunny skies of Pasadena, to perform in the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 2. While band members have put in countless hours of practice, they’re not the only ones making preparations.
It takes a collective effort from parents and band booster club members to make sure everything is ready for their performance in order to make this third trip to the Tournament of Roses Parade possible.
Music Booster President Lisa Voelker says this trip really showcases the strength of their program under the direction of Tom Busch.
“To be asked back three times, I mean one time is an honor, but three times is unbelievable,” said Voelker. “I think that tells a lot about our music program and how hard these kids work and it also starts out in our middle school. The fact that we’re a 3,000-person community, to have a marching band this strong says a lot.”
Once the announcement that Pulaski would be returning to Pasadena, the boosters began fundraising, with a goal of covering at least the travel portion, which equates to about $600 per student. Voelker says it was a year-round effort that was just recently completed.
“With the number of students we have going, the number of chaperones, we needed to raise $162,000 in a year,” Voelker informed. “We have a couple of fundraisers, we had a Thanksgiving pie fundraiser, we had a Christmas candy sale and we also work the Resch [Center] and Packers games, so it was a lot of work, not only by the parents, but by the students. They put in a lot of hard work to earn the money too.
Much is required from students and members of the booster club. Mark Wernicke has had a number of kids come up through the Pulaski band and acknowledges while it takes a lot of hard work now, the payoff in the end for the students makes it worthwhile.
“It’s the reward at the end,” said Wernicke. “To see the smiles on the kids faces, to march five-and-a-half miles in California in this parade, with people lining the streets and cheering the whole band that sounds really good. It’s pretty cool.
Normally, the Tournament of Roses Parade is held on New Year’s Day, however they do have a never Sunday rule, which pushes the date back to Jan. 2 this year.