Adrian alum leads band in Tournament of Roses Parade
ADRIAN — Adrian High School alumnus Leon Sieve is one of three band directors at Rosemount High School (RHS) who will lead the Rosemount marching band in the 125th annual Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Eve in Pasadena, Calif.
Sieve, who grew up between Wilmont and Lismore and graduated from Adrian High School in 1988, traces his passion for music back to his high school days.
“There were a lot of directors who influenced me in band and choir at Adrian,” said Sieve. “I always felt that music would be the direction I would take in life.”
Sieve attained his bachelor’s degree from South Dakota State University and received his master’s degree from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Ore.
This is his 12th year teaching at Rosemount High School, which has the largest high school band program in the state.
The RHS marching band has traveled around the world to places like China, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. Now it can add California to the list.
The Rose Bowl Parade has a stringent application process.
“We basically had to plan for this two years in advance,” Sieve explained. “We had to submit an interview video that described all our credentials and why we felt we should be chosen. We also submitted a video of the band, we had eight letters of recommendation from all around the state and the country, and then we waited for the news.”
With 410 instrumentalists — 208 will perform on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena — the marching band at RHS has been the Minnesota state marching band champion for the past eight years.
“I was honestly surprised that we were chosen, but then we went right into fundraising,” said Sieve.
The marching band hosted a march-a-thon that raised $21,000, and an annual garage sale netted $11,000. But the biggest fundraiser was selling “script” — gift cards — all year, garnering $1.2 million for the group.
About 850 people, including the musicians, family, friends, and staff, will leave at 4 a.m. on Friday for the Golden State and will return Jan. 2.
“We got an amazing deal on these flights. Sun Country Airlines was able to charter two planes for us to go,” said Sieve.
While Sieve is gearing up for the Rose Parade, he feels like he’s been preparing for the experience all his life.
“I still remember in my high school yearbook, I believe it was called wills and fortunes, and I remember my classmates said that I would lead the band in the Rose Parade,” said Sieve. “I didn’t really think about it until now, but it really has hit me that this is reality — I’m leading the band in the Rose Parade.”