MURRYSVILLE (KDKA) — Some local high school students will be ringing in the New Year across the country.

They have the honor of marching in the Tournament of Roses parade.

Franklin Regional band members loaded onto a bus early this morning and headed to the airport – bound for the West Coast.

“The band has really been a great experience and its definitely taken me places I never expected to go,” Nathan Slippy, a band member, said.

“The big day is finally here,” Franklin Regional Band Director Kevin Pollock said. “It’s been 16 months in the making. We’ve been anticipating this since September of 2010, believe it or not.”

It’s more 2,400 miles from Murrysville to Pasadena where the teens will take part in the 123rd Tournament of Roses parade.

This band is one of only 21 selected to march through the streets of sunny California this year.

“We’re very pleased that they were pleased with what they heard and saw and extended the invitation for us to be there this year,” Pollack said.

The musicians and color guard have been gearing up for more than a year now, practicing, conditioning and marching 5 and a half miles – the length of the parade route.

“They had to get up early and sometimes they had to stay late after school to prepare for this, so this is a big achievement for them,” Gene Shaffer, a parent, said.

The band will play in a concert Saturday before the parade.

Moms and dads staying put in PA say they’ll be glued to the TV.

“I’m just so proud of them, especially Megan, but all of them,” Melissa Delligatti said. “They’ve done a good job.”

Tournament of Roses
Franklin Regional High School Band