RALEIGH — Tell your neighbors: Tomorrow, the Broughton High School Marching Band represents Raleigh to an audience of millions in the internationally televised Tournament of Roses Parade.
It's the band's second time in four years earning an honor achieved by just 14 marching bands in the country each year.
"A lot is about being in the right mindset," drum major Caroline Sprecher said. "The band has stepped up, we all want to do this, and we want to do it well, so we're all ready to focus and ready to work."
The parade, which precedes the Rose Bowl college football game, is a 6-mile extravaganza featuring elaborate floats covered with real flowers, as well as marching bands. Broughton was chosen from 100 applicants worldwide.
To be chosen, bands are judged on musicality, showmanship and marching ability. Before Broughton High's 2008 appearance, the last North Carolina band to go was East Carteret High in 1990. The Cary High School band has marched in the parade three times, the last in 1984.
The parade is taking place Monday, Jan. 2, instead of its usual New Year's Day slot in accordance with the event's "Never on a Sunday" tradition, according to the Tournament of Roses website.
To ensure that his student musicians can endure the 6-mile route, longtime marching band director J.R. Richardson added physical training to the band's already busy practice regimen this fall.
Such intense training paid off in the 2008 parade, when Broughton was one of just two bands that didn't have a musician dropping out from exhaustion.
The other: the U.S. Marine Corps band.
Sprecher gave herself another challenge in the final weeks of practice: adding in spins to bring another level of theatricality to the band's performance. She said the preparations have paid off - the band is ready.
The band traveled to Pasadena, Calif., the last week of December to do some sight-seeing and perform in the event's pre-parade band showcase, Bandfest.
Monday will be Richardson's last big performance. After 34 years of training Broughton bands, he will retire Feb. 1. He's threatened to before, but this time the paperwork is in.
"This is like the last little hurrah right here, but I haven't had time to think about it," Richardson said. "Right now, my mind is totally dealing with the parade."
To watch the Broughton High School Marching Band in the Tournament of Roses Parade at 11 a.m. Monday, check out ABC, the Hallmark Channel, HGTV, NBC or Univision.
Iraq War veteran and Dancing with the Stars champ J.R. Martinez will be the parade's Grand Marshal.