ADAMS TWP — A musical overachiever from Mars High School will take time to smell the roses on New Year's Day.
Nick Pecora, a sophomore and drum major in the Mars Fightin' Planets Marching Band, will march in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 1.
Pecora and his trumpet earned a spot with the Bands of America Marching Band, a 325-piece national ensemble comprised of the nation's top high school musicians and color guard members. Nick was selected by Music for All, a national group that aims to ensure that every child across America has access and opportunity to participate in active music making in their scholastic environment.
“It's a great honor to be accepted because of how prestigious it is and how wonderful it is that they're promoting music,” Nick said.
Nick will leave for Pasadena on Dec. 27 and return on Jan. 3. In between those dates, Nick's activities will include rehearsing with the Bands of America, marching in the 5.5-mile Roses Parade as well as a parade at Disneyland.
Nick said because the band is scattered all over the U.S., Music for All has created a unique way for musicians to rehearse before the event.
Musicians receive the sheet music online via a computer program called SmartMusic, practice that music, then hook a microphone to their instrument and play the selection.
They then submit their effort to SmartMusic via the Internet, and finally receive pointers on improvements that could be made.
“The music is fairly challenging, especially because we are expected to have it memorized by the time we get there,” Nick said, “but it is supposed to be challenging, because all the students chosen are high-level students.”
Mars music teacher and marching band director Tammi Redmond said she does not know of any other student who has made Bands of America during her four-year tenure as director.
Redmond said Nick's status as drum major in the marching band while only a sophomore demonstrates his musical skill and personal maturity.
“It is unusual for a drum major to be a sophomore,” Redmond said. “It does not have to be a senior, but it usually ends up being a senior because of talent and experience.”
She said Nick's mature, professional carriage and his musical knowledge earned him the coveted drum major position.
Nick's parents, Paul and Kelly Pecora of Adams Township, said their musically inclined son took up the trumpet in fifth grade and began playing with the school band.
“The majority of Nick's music education has come through school,” Kelly Pecora said. “He has had some very good teachers who have provided him with knowledge, discipline and love of music.”
The Pecoras said they are proud of their son and appreciative of Bands of America, for which he had to audition.
“This is a great honor and the trip will be a wonderful experience,” Kelly Pecora said.
The whole family will be watching for Nick on TV as the rose-bedecked floats make their way down the Pasadena parade route on New Year's Day.
Nick also appreciates the chance to perform with other talented high school musicians.
“It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I'm really excited that I got the opportunity.”
More information on Music for All and Bands of America is available at www.musicforall.org. The Mars Fightin' Planets Marching Band, including Nick Pecora as drum major, can be viewed on the 2012-13 Mars High School Band page on Facebook.