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The opportunity to spend time in Southern California in winter is worthy of any effort for a high school senior and their family.

When you factor in the chance to participate in the 128th annual Rose Parade in Pasadena as a member of the 2017 Bands of America Honor Band, departing from the chill of Wisconsin is just a bonus.

"I have had a countdown going since the day I was selected," Sam Hantzsch said. "(My family) couldn't be more proud of the work I've put in for this."

Three Wauwatosa East High School band members, Molly Lampone, Mairyn Schoshinski and Hantzsch, along with Greenfield High School junior Kyle Rusk earned the opportunity to be a part of 2017 Bands of America Honor Band through an application process.

"Under the direction of Wauwatosa East band teachers Kristin Cudzewicz and Jennifer Lato, the students underwent a rigorous audition process in order to be selected as one of the 300 musicians to participate in the band," a release from the school district said.

Lato herself is a Wauwatosa West graduate and participated in the parade in 2005, the first year for the BOA Honor Band.

“This was a fantastic opportunity for our students to take part in such a large national search, and to have three students from the same school selected is quite an honor for the Wauwatosa East Band,” Lato said.

Hantzsch and Lampone will be accompanied by their families for all or part of the trip that will also take them to the Santa Monica Pier, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and downtown Los Angeles. Schoshinski could not be reached to discuss her family's plans.

Lampone plays the mellophone, similar to a French horn, and is the section leader for the East band. Hantzsch is the drum line captain at East and Schoshinski is a drum major, although she qualified for the event on the trombone.

"I am hoping this will help me decide whether or not I want to be a music major," Lampone said. "Music has always been a big part of my life."

When the students arrive in California they will have an orientation where they will meet the faculty and staff and get a rental instrument that they will use for the parade.

Then they will rehearse for a few days and that will be followed by a performance at Disneyland New Year's Eve. That event is billed as a "Band Fest" that will showcase all of the bands participating in the parade.

The morning of the parade, which begins at 10 a.m. Central time, the students will board buses at 2 a.m. The parade route runs down Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard and features bands from around the world in addition to spectacular floats.

This year's 5.5-mile parade will take place Monday, Jan. 2 due to the Rose Parade's "never on Sunday" policy. The policy was put in place at the inception of the event in 1893 because the inaugural event would have taken place on a Sunday, and the organizers wanted to avoid frightening horses that would be hitched outside churches and thus interfering with worship services.

The BOA Honor Band previously marched in the 2005, 2009 and 2013 Rose Parades. The 2017 version of the band aims to make history and includes members representing each of the 50 states.

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