Putting its best foot forward, the Ironwood Ridge High School Marching Band performed at the Holiday Bowl in San Diego on Dec. 30 with other Division II schools from around the country.
“It was a really good experience,” said band director Mark Hodge. “The parade was a lot of fun. We got to see other bands and support other Arizona bands that were there.”
Before attending the Holiday Bowl, the Nighthawks placed eighth out of 46 other Division II bands at the Arizona State Marching Band Championship in Glendale. They were the smallest band with 72 band members.
This is the fourth year that the Nighthawks have attended the Holiday Bowl. The band raised money through hosting a marching band invitational, selling coupon books and through other small fundraisers led by the students and parents. The cost for each student was $850.
The Nighthawks performed in the Big Bay Balloon Parade with 1,500 other band students and in front of more than 100,000 spectators. For trumpet player and senior Malia O’Connor, the trip proved to be worthwhile.
“I think the trip helps us bond more together. It was just fun because we got to experience things with other bands, but also create memories with our band,” said O’Connor. “The highlight of this trip was probably seeing ourselves on TV after the parade.”
The band also enjoyed the San Diego Zoo, Sea World and the beach.
“It’s a reward for a good season,” said Hodge. “It’s kind of a cultural exchange. We got to compare ourselves to other bands around the country. It’s basically just the experience and time to travel to build camaraderie.”