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Penn-Trafford girls set to march in Tournament of Roses Parade

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Penn-Trafford High School Color Guard members Rachel Sager, left, Rachel Read and Emily Frye are flying to California next week to perform during the Tournament of Roses Parade. Submitted photo

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By Chris Foreman
Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, 8:51 p.m.

Three members of the Penn-Trafford High School Color Guard say they will have the experience of a lifetime when they perform during the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year's Day.

Seniors Rachel Read and Rachel Sager and junior Emily Frye are flying to Pasadena, Calif., on Dec. 27 to prepare for the Jan. 1 event.

A fourth student with Penn-Trafford ties — Hannah Stephens-Forsyth, who transferred to Seneca Valley Senior High School this fall — also is among the 26 students from Pennsylvania chosen for the 300-member Bands of America Honor Band.

The girls are participating through a program sponsored by Indianapolis-based Music for All, a nonprofit music-education organization.

The application process included a videotaped audition, as well as letters of recommendation.

For Rachel Read, the parade is an opportunity to share an experience that her brother, Brian, had eight years earlier as a sophomore at Penn-Trafford.

“When I'm 40 years old, I'll be able to tell my children one day that I was in that,” said Rachel Read, whose father, Bob Read, is the band director at Gateway High School.

“I think it's going to be a great experience, in general, to look back on and to have the rest of my life.”

In recent weeks, the girls have been practicing by watching videos an instructor uploaded to YouTube.

They said they are preparing to do routines corresponding to a portion of “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth,” which is a nightly show performed at Epcot Center at Walt Disney World Resort; “Stars and Stripes”; and Katy Perry's hit song “Firework.”

Frye said she has been taking her laptop outside to practice the tips from the instructional videos.

“It means a lot because I love color guard and it's practically my life,” she said.

Because all of the girls started in color guard in middle school, they said being chosen for the parade together has helped to strengthen their friendships.

“The best part, to me, is the fact that I get to share this experience with people that I'm already close friends with,” Sager said.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8671 or

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