The Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, is one of the most tradition-steeped and prestigious events in which a high school marching band can participate. At about seven miles long – when you factor in the parade route and walking to and from the staging areas at the beginning and end – it also makes for a grueling day.
Cristin Selle now knows that from experience. The 2014 Eureka High
graduate participated in this year's Rose Parade on Jan. 1, as the assistant director of the Kamehameha Schools Kapalama Warrior Marching Band and Color Guard.
At least she wasn't carrying the marching quad drums.
"The entire band was pretty sore afterwards," Selle said, with a laugh. "But when we were practicing for this, we did work on a lot of marching so we'd have conditioning. Our poor percussionists had it the worst."
Selle experienced this unique opportunity in her first year as a band teacher at the Oahu campus of Kamehameha Schools, a private-school network of three campuses in Hawaii that are enhanced by an emphasis on Hawaiian culture, languages and practices.
For her first teaching job, Selle went all the way from Missouri to Hawaii. It's been a bit of an adjustment.
"I love it not being cold," Selle said. "I also really like the school. Pretty much all of the students here have some amount of native Hawaiian ancestry. There are a lot of little bits of day-to-day life out here at the school that are uniquely Hawaiian and incorporate that Hawaiian culture. It's very interesting to be a part of, especially on the music side of things."
Kamehameha Schools was one of 20 marching bands that participated in this year's 131st edition of the Rose Parade. Along the parade route, the band played the "Kamehameha March" and an arrangement of the traditional Hawaiian song "Aloha 'Oe."
Selle said it was exciting to share a number of firsts with her students.
"Some of them, this was their first time traveling to California – it was my first time, too – and some of them, it was their first time traveling off the island," Selle said. "Getting to experience all of that with them and also being there to support them in such a cool performance opportunity, that's what I liked most."
Selle played flute at LaSalle Springs Middle
and Eureka before participating in band and studying music education at Truman State University. She found Kamehameha through the Search Associates recruiting agency, which helps pair American teachers with far afield schools.
Selle said her time in Rockwood not only nurtured her love of music but prepared her to welcome the chance to seek out new experiences.
"Having access to a good band program and being taught by really quality band teachers, that was a major factor in why I stuck with band in college," Selle said. "Then a lot of my experiences at Eureka – coursework-wise and participating in as many opportunities and interacting with as many people as I did – helped prepare me for coming somewhere where I was completely out of my element. You don't get much different from the Midwest than coming out here."