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Named one of the top 10 parades in the world by the International Festival and Events Association (IFEA), the parade and festival is the largest celebration of Asian culture outside of the continent, according to its website.
Materials engineering senior Clincy Cheung, who doubles as the assistant executive officer of the Mustang Band, said the band was invited last year after a member of the organizing committee of the Chinese New Year Parade saw its performance at a ceremony for the Warren J. Baker Center for Science and Mathematics (building 180).
With over 200 members, the band was awarded first place last year over the University of California, Davis in the adult band category, according to psychology senior and Mustang Band CEO Morgan Johnson. UCD and Cal Poly enjoy a friendly rivalry, Johnson said.
The Mustangs-Aggies relationship began this past fall, when UCD traveled to Cal Poly to collaboratively perform Fall Out Boy’s “Thnks fr th Mmrs” at a football game halftime show.
Johnson said the two schools now take turns visiting one another every so often, practicing and performing together.
In fact, the two schools will meet again at their second annual “band-off,” taking place in front of the Ferry Building in San Francisco hours before the parade.
The unofficial concert, free for public viewing, will go on between Cal Poly and UCD. The bands alternate performing songs, playfully trying to top the other.
“It is a great opportunity to showcase our skills as a marching band,” Johnson said. “It’s fun to be with UC Davis’ band; they have a lot of spirit.”
The bands’ skills will be put to the test inevitably later that evening as they perform along the 1.5-mile route, which partly runs through Chinatown.
Rehearsals have been no easy task, according to Cheung. However, the band has increased stamina and has been making progress.
For the past four Sundays, the band endures three-hour practices marching a designated route on campus to practice their song and form. The practices include members of the Fall Marching Band as well as the color guard team, who complement the band’s music with choreographed dance routines, electrical engineering senior and Cal Poly Color Guard co-captain Emily Lopez said.
“It’s a challenge choreographing because parades are a lot different,” she said. “You have to keep a certain tempo and march at certain time, but it’s a lot of fun because the routines are very fast and upbeat.”
Marching is not the only component that differs from the band’s normal formality. The “pep tunes” played in the football stadium is a different experience for the band in the parade setting.
“We are appealing to a different crowd,” Cheung said. “We know the general atmosphere of the football stadium, but you don’t know the audience you are going to be playing in front of (at the parade).”
The song choices for the parade require a tempo that is not too fast so it isn’t difficult to march to, Johnson said.
The band will march to a repertoire of three different songs. The songs will be performed in between cadences, which are solos performed by the drum line.
“It gives the school a lot of great publicity,” she said. “There’s a lot of room for us to be highlighted at the parade.”
Since the parade is the band’s only road trip this year, Cheung said the excitement is warranted.
“We did not go to any away game this year because we chose to save money within our budget,” he said. “We knew that we were going to be traveling to the parade.”
The parade will be broadcasted live on KTVU Fox 2 and KTSF Channel 26, as well as online from 6 to 8 p.m.