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SAN DIEGO -- The Tooele High School marching band performed Dec. 28 in front of a crowd of more than 56,000 at the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl.
The band traveled to San Diego to participate in a parade and field show competition. The Holiday Bowl halftime performance was the culmination of hundreds of hours of practice and came at the invitation of Holiday Bowl organizers, who contacted band director Marilyn Syra a year ago.
Syra said the idea of performing in the Holiday Bowl was met with support, so the community started fundraising for the trip.
"It's tough, today, to do fundraising," she said. "But we did it. This is a great community; they support us so much. We couldn't have done it without their support, especially that of the parents."
Tamra Wiker, whose son performed in the band, witnessed the community's support firsthand.
"Not only did the community participate in several fundraisers, but they really came out to support the kids and welcome them home," she said. "There were electronic billboards that said 'Congratulations Tooele High School,' and Macey's had a big banner hung up congratulating the band."
Wiker said although it was midnight, many members of the community showed up at the parking lot where the students arrived to celebrate their success with glow sticks and horns, and a great deal of noise.
"It was almost midnight, but everyone was just really excited," she said. "The community really loves their band."
The band members won first place in their division in both the field and street marching competitions, as well as all of the awards but one in sub- categories including music, marching and maneuvering.
"We're proud of our little band," Wiker said. "They worked so hard and they had a lot of fun. They've done really well representing Tooele. They've done really well representing Utah."
Syra could not be more proud of her students.
"It has been a really good year," she said. "I am so proud of these students. I can't put these kinds of feelings into words."
Photos courtesy of Tawna Walter