On New Year’s Day, a Troy University student had the opportunity of a lifetime to perform for thousands of spectators both in person and on television.
Katarina Agnew, a junior music major and clarinet player in the Sound of the South, marched in the 2022 Rose Parade.
Agnew traveled across the country to Pasadena, California, to participate in the 5 and 1/2-mile-long parade.
Though Agnew has marched in parades since high school, marching in the Rose Parade was an experience unlike any other.
“We all got off the buses and got onto Colorado Boulevard and started setting up,” Agnew said. “I didn’t really feel like anything was happening until the Sun started to rise, and I saw the Good Year blimp.
“When you see the Good Year blimp, that’s when you know something really big is happening. “
Despite the chilling air, early start time and the blinding camera lights, Agnew drew energy from the crowd for a strong performance.
“It was magical,” Agnew said. “The energy was so high, and energy is really important to me as a performer because performers tend to draw their energy from the crowd.
“I have never felt energy like that before. There were so many people watching us.”
Agnew said that many spectators were cheering for individual sections of instruments and inspired the young musicians to keep marching forward.
“I have never seen a more supportive crowd. I guess they could tell we were tired, especially around mile 4,” Agnew said. “They were like, ‘You got this! Keep going!’”
Agnew had the opportunity to audition for the Rose Parade her senior year, but she felt like she was not ready.
“I looked at it my senior year of high school, but I didn’t really have time to actually work on the audition. I thought this was something I wouldn’t get to do,” Agnew said. “Then since the opportunity came back up again last January I was like, ‘You know what? Why not! I’m going to give it a go.’”
For the audition, Agnew was required to play concert scales and an excerpt from “Stars and Stripes Forever” – a piece Agnew has had a lot of practice playing during her time in the Sound of the South.
“I was like, ‘Heck yeah,’” Agnew said. “Fortune has smiled upon me this day, and so I ended up auditioning for it. I took a chance, and there I was.”
Agnew said that she is grateful for the Sound of the South’s instruction.
She also shared that her drive to always put her best foot forward helped her grow as a musician.
“I feel like I am first and foremost a musician when I describe myself,” Agnew said. “It is something I absolutely love to do and, I don’t see myself doing anything else at this point in my life.”