Ellen Chmura, 17, received the opportunity of a lifetime when she was selected to perform with the Bands of America Honor Band in January at the 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif.
“I had always seen the Rose Parade on TV ever since I was little, and as soon as I knew I had an opportunity to be a part of it, I had to audition,” the Lansing teen said.
“I had never marched in a parade before and I thought it would be a great experience.”
A French horn player at Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, she was chosen from hundreds of applicants by the organization Music for All.
Chmura joined more than 300 high school musicians and color guard performers selected from band programs across the country. The parade was televised in more than 200 countries.
“I was definitely nervous for the whole band because of the importance of looking good on national television, but I was also confident that we would look fantastic,” she said.
“I felt extremely proud of myself and my friends once I saw the video of us on TV. The crowd at the Rose Parade was so supportive the entire way and there were people dancing and telling us we were amazing the whole six miles.”
During her visit to California, Chmura was able to tour Hollywood and perform for visitors at Disneyland theme park.
“The crowd is right next to you as you march down Main Street. I had been to Disneyland before and I had seen parades there, and it was cool to be a part of one,” she said.
The daughter or Nancy and Peter Chmura, Ellen plans to major in music education and work as a high school orchestra or band director.
To nominate someone for this feature, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.