NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Norfolk State University Spartan Legion marching band will perform at this year’s Rose Bowl parade in Pasadena, California.
This is the first time in the marching band’s history that they’ve had the opportunity to perform on a national stage. The band will not only represent Norfolk, but the state of Virginia.
“We’ve been working so hard for so long so everything is muscle memory now,” said Senior Drum Major Jaylin Jackson.
Jackson told 10 On Your Side the band has spent the last five months perfecting their performance.
“It’s their time to shine,” said Stephanie Sanders, Associate Director of Bands.
A great honor for Norfolk State University’s Spartan Legion marching band, to perform in the parade that kicks off the Tournament of Roses–the oldest college football bowl game in history.
After applying for the honor, the Spartan Legion was selected on the first shot. This year’s Rose Bowl theme is “Turning the Corner.”
“Oh it’s a tedious process. You have to send history of the university, your band program, highlight things that your band has done over the years,” Sanders explained.
Quiara Jackson serves as the band’s first female drum major.
“We are a type of band that sort of models militant bands so when you see us we try to look more statistics but we also have that switch where we get to show our fun and enthusiastic side. We can turn it right back off at the time of the performance. A lot of bands can’t do that,” said Jackson.
For Quiara Jackson, this will be her first trip to California.
“I’ve never been to California. I’ve never been in a performance as big as this one so it’s kind of nerve-wracking especially because I’m so used to being in the back of the band so now being in the front it’s a lot of pressure. You’re the first person that everybody sees when the band comes down the street,” said Quiara Jackson.
The marching band will perform four songs during the five-and-a-half-mile Rose Parade and a four-song medley for their grandstand performance which is made up of music written in and about California.
“Music everybody’s going to want to hear. Everybody knows it. Doesn’t matter who you are or where you grew up. Everybody knows these songs,” stated Jaylin Jackson.
After countless hours practicing, the band will fly together on a private charter to Pasadena early Thursday morning and is set to perform Monday afternoon.
“The Spartan Legion we’re excited to go to California, to show up and show out and show the country what we’re made of,” said Quiara Jackson.
This year’s Rose Bowl is on Monday, Jan. 2 between Penn State and Utah. You can watch the Rose Bowl Parade on WAVY TV-10 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day.