Raleigh, N.C. — The Broughton High School band is preparing to march in the Tournament of Roses parade Jan. 2 in Pasadena, Calif.
"They've actually given us the coveted final parade spot," Broughton High band director J.R. Richardson said Tuesday amid the band's rehearsals on campus.
It will be the second time the school has marched the nearly 6-mile route. The band was among the 10 high school bands given the honor in 2008.
"I technically was supposed to retire last year, but I hung around one more year when this happened," Richardson said.
Broughton's band had 15 months to prepare and raise money to cover the nearly $500,000 travel bill to the parade. Band members practiced carrying instruments while they marched 6 miles around the school's track. They also worked on perfecting two songs – "Grand Ol' Flag" and "God Bless America."
"Every day, I see a little more improvement," Richardson said.
It will be drum major Caroline Sprecher's second Tournament of Roses parade. She said she is nervous but not worried.
"Once you get there, the adrenaline of having so many people watching and cheering you on is just incredible, and you really just ride on it the whole way," Sprecher said.
The Broughton High marching band leaves Dec. 28 for California.