Tournament of Roses Parade
As near as she can figure out, Courtney Bortz found out her friend Megan Noggle had made it in before Noggle knew.
Bortz was checking email and saw her friend's acceptance letter along with her own.
"I called her mom and she was freaking out more than I was," Bortz recalled with a laugh, describing sharing the news.
Meanwhile, Alyssa Rice checked her email and knew as well.
The friends found out by email they passed auditions for the color guard for the Cavalcade of Bands Honor Band set to perform Jan. 1, 2015, in the Tournament of Roses Parade.
In other words, Rice and Noggle, seniors at Emmaus High School, and Bortz, a 2014 EHS graduate now at Millersville University, were going to California.
Rice had not heard of the Rose Parade before learning of her honor. Noggle has watched the parade on New Year's Day if nothing else is going on, she said. Bortz, who describes her family as "into bands," usually watches the annual event.
"My mom loves it," Bortz said of the parade.
The trio will join 27 other members of the color guard, along with the marching band and numerous other flower bedecked floats, marching bands and equestrian performers, among others, on the five and one-half mile route of the Tournament of Roses Parade. The parade, celebrating its 126th year, is the official prelude to the Rose Bowl football game.
Performing in the guard has meant extra practices, including weekends, for Rice, Noggle and Bortz, in addition to school work and other commitments and family obligations.
All three of the young women are veteran color guard performers. Rice, who also has studied dance for 16 years, joined color guard at the suggestion of her mother and has been in color guard throughout high school. Noggle joined color guard in middle school, tried out for the high school squad and has participated throughout her high school career. Bortz was reluctant at first to join color guard because her sister was in the color guard at EHS.
"It's kind of my sister's thing," Bortz said, but she found she enjoyed it and stayed with it.
The color guard will carry and perform with silk flags in the Tournament of Roses Parade. The color guard, including Bortz, Noggle and Rice, also will dance in a field show as part of the festivities surrounding the event.
Parents and siblings of Rice, Bortz and Noggle are making the trip as well. Other family members and friends will watch the parade on television.
The parade uniforms left by truck several days before the flight from Philadelphia took the trio to California. Rice planned to load her e-reader with books for the six-hour flight out. Coloring books also are packed to help pass the time in the air.
Each color guard member will wear a mask as part of the uniform. Moreover, roses likely will accent the uniforms.
"My allergies are going to be horrible," Noggle said.
Based in Harrisburg, Cavalcade of Bands Association, Inc., described on its website as a non-profit organization with a membership of 100 schools, includes students from schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and New York.