California Bound! GINW Students Head to Holiday Bowl


It's California or bust for Grand Island Northwest band members, as they head to the Holiday Bowl.

For the Viking Band at GI Northwest, it's meant marching on hundred degree days in August and also wind chills in the teens in recent days.

Drum Major Bailey Shubert said, "It makes this cold weather worth it, make it worth it knowing I'm going to be in San Diego with 75 degree weather and not have to worry about snowing."

Students packed up their instruments and uniforms last Friday, when school let out for Christmas break.

Director Shawn Pfanstiel said, "We've been looking forward to it for a long time, been the crown of our year. Being able to perform for this size of crowds that we are, will be very rewarding, national TV audience, it's a fun trip."

Recently, they marched with brass instruments and all in 16 degree wind chills. That's a far cry from the experience every summer at band camp, which kicks off the marching season.

In August, Shubert told NTV, "Probably took drink breaks every five minutes and people would huddle wherever you could find shade."

Not every student is able to make the trip. Students had the opportunity to raise funds to be able to take part. Many couldn't pass up this trip with friends.

In August, Matt Eberle said, "Band is the highlight of the school year, after that, it's boring, not much happens."

Pfanstiel, the director, made sure all the gear was loaded ahead of time. Band parents Brian and Janel Laub volunteered to drive the trailer to California.

It's a good thing Pfanstiel is used to bringing large groups together in an orchestrated way.

"We're seeing controlled chaos, is the best way I can describe it. We've got kids loading instruments, loading uniforms, double checking to have all the uniforms," he said.

Shubert, the drum major said, "I would probably have a meltdown when we get to San Diego and somebody doesn't have instrument."

In the days before Christmas, it was Pfanstiel who made a list, and checked it twice.

He said, "A lot of lists I've made. There's a list for everything, a list to make sure the list is taken care of, lists for lists."

The band left Thursday, the day after Christmas. The plan was to drive 30 hours on the bus to California.

Pfanstiel said, "We are there through New Year's Eve, leave to Anaheim to Disneyland the last day, and home after we say Happy New Year in Disneyland."

Not only will they march at the Holiday Bowl and parade, they'll ring in the new year with fireworks at Disneyland.