Monday, August 2, 2021
WRHS Students to Kick Off New Year’s in Tournament of Roses Parade
Wood River High School Band Director Patrick Herb is excited to see Orrie DeShields, left, and Brandon Enders, right, follow in his steps to the New Year’s Day Rose Bowl Parade, which was founded in 1890.
Tuesday, April 20, 2021


Two Wood River band musicians have landed the opportunity of a lifetime to march in the 2022 Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day.

Brandon Enders and Orrie DeShields will be spending this summer and fall not only practicing their notes but building up their endurance so they can march 5.5 miles while playing a bass drum and a baritone saxophone.

“I’m definitely going to have to start training to walk with the drum that far,” said Enders. “I’ll have to build my upper body strength, do a lot of long-distance walking.”

Orrie DeShields, who will be a high school freshman next fall, will be playing a 20-pounds baritone sax.

Enders, a junior at Wood River High School, and DeShields, an eighth-grader at Wood River Middle School, were selected by the non-profit educational organization Music for All to be members of the Bands of America Honor Band for the 132-year-old Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena.

This is the first time any Idaho students have been represented in the Band of America Honor Band.

The boys were selected from among hundreds of applicants across the nation for the 300-piece national ensemble comprised of winds, percussion and flag and dance team. Both students applied for and received scholarships from the Sun Valley Museum of Art to help defray their travel expenses.

Band Director Patrick Herb encouraged them to apply. And Enders’ parents, Robyn and Ben Enders, were quick to second the motion. Brandon’s older brother Andy had played trombone with Wyoming’s Laramie Valley High School when it was selected to perform in the Tournament of Roses Parade before the family moved to the Wood River Valley. And he had fond memories of his time there.

“I’m most looking forward to performing at Disneyland because I think it’s a great company,” said Enders. “And my parents thought it would be fun for me to do it because I play a different instrument than by brother, who played trombone.”

Encouraged by his parents to learn an instrument during elementary school, Enders picked the drums because he thought they were cool.

“Drumming and marching at the same time can be confusing—there’s a lot of going on between the hands and the feet when you’re marching and playing at the same time,” he said.

DeShields, son of Mitch and Becky DeShields, took up sax in sixth grade and has fallen in love with being part of a team. He's already signed up for four years of band in high school, but he has never marched with a band before.

"Mr. Herb said when I go to high school he'll teach me how to march the wall step, which is taking smaller steps than normal," he said. "I'm really looking forward to the whole thing. For me, traveling is 90 percent of the experience, and with the coronavirus it's been a while since I've been anywhere."

The two youngsters will spend a week in Southern California where they will have rehearsals and perform at the Tournament of Roses Bandfest and Disneyland, in addition to marching in the two-hour spectacle of floral floats, and horses along Pasadena’s famed Colorado Boulevard.

“To be selected for this opportunity is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for students and a testimony to their excellence and achievements,” said Director Richard Saucedo. “The Rose Parade is one of our country’s national pageantry treasures. The Hoor Band members are ambassadors of America’s scholastic music and arts program, as well as their schools and communities.”

Wood River High School Band Director Patrick Herb is as excited as his proteges because he’s well aware of what it will mean for them.

He marched in the Tournament of Roses Parade with his Pearl City High School Band from Honolulu, Hawaii.

“It’s a long parade, especially for our kids who maybe go three-quarters of a mile in the Trailing of Sheep  or Homecoming parade,” he said. “But it’s an amazing experience performing before a large number of people at a very, very high level with a lot of other like-minded hard workers. We had an early wakeup call at 4 o’clock and we were standing in line at 5:30 in the morning for the parade, which starts at 8 a.m. We had to practice a 90-degree turn where the cameras are so the turn looked smooth.

“It’s really intense with the big grandstand, the TV cameras, so many people all around. But afterwards they fed everyone cheeseburgers and French fries in the park.”

Herb said he’ll have the boys perform John Phillips Souza’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” and the other songs they’ll be asked to play as they march 20 laps around WRHS’s outdoor track and 62 laps around the indoor track in the gym when the weather turns inclement.

“The sax, at 20 pounds, is actually heavier than the bass drum because it’s made of brass, which is heavier than the carbon fiber, laminate and aluminum in the drum, which weighs 15 pounds,” he said.  “The boys have their work cut out for them. But both are really motivated in music. They work hard every day, and they’re a testament to Blaine County School District’s music program.”


Wood River High School Band Director Patrick Herb first landed in Idaho when Boise State’s David Wells, a liaison to his high school band in Honolulu, gave him a scholarship to Boise State University to play in BSU’s marching band.

Herb met his wife there and the couple moved to New York for 11 years where he played in various orchestras. He was playing for the New York Metropolitan Opera when he ran into an old friend—WRHS Orchestra Director Rebecca Martin, who had been given a scholarship by the Sun Valley Museum of Arts to participate in an opera workshop.

She told him of an opening at WRHS. Herb was already familiar with Sun Valley, having taken music lessons during one of the Sun Valley Music Festival’s workshops. And, so, he and his wife decided this was where they wanted to raise their newborn baby.

 “The valley is so supportive with so many partnerships.,” he said. “It’s amazing to see how they all work together.”

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