Members of Lafayette High School's band won't be the only Kentuckians marching through Pasadena, Calif., on New Year's Day for the annual Tournament of Roses Parade.
The Bands of America Honor Band, made up of teenage musicians from across the nation, includes 14 Kentuckians. And Grant Knox, 17, a senior at Bryan Station High School in Lexington, will be one of four drum majors leading the 300-piece ensemble.
"I'm very excited," said Grant, who has been Bryan Station's drum major for the past two years. He will fly to California on Dec. 27 to begin preparation.
Grant's mother, Vicki Knox, a lab technician at the University of Kentucky, said her son decided to put together a videotape application for the Honor Band after hearing from several friends in the Lafayette Band that they would be going.
"He did it all on his own and we thought, yeah, right," she said. "And then he heard that he had been accepted as one of four drum majors."
Knox said the Honor Band application was typical for her son, who from an early age has set goals for himself and worked hard to accomplish them.
She was working as assistant daycare director at the Salvation Army in Lexington when Grant was 5 years old. He was fascinated by the organization's brass band and kept saying he wanted to learn to play an instrument.
"He didn't want to go home one day and our minister came through and said, 'Grant, what's the matter?' He said, 'I want to play a horn,'" his mother said. The band leader said that when he was old enough to get a sound out of a mouthpiece he would start teaching him. Grant did it immediately.
Grant has been playing with the Salvation Army band since he was 10 and is now an assistant teacher. He said he also arranges music for Bryan Station's pep band. Grant plans to study either music education or political science in college, possibly at Murray State University.
Knox said her health will prevent her and her husband, David, a letter carrier, from making the trip to California. But they will be in front of the television New Year's Day to watch for their son.
The Honor Band has performed twice before in the Tournament of Roses Parade, in 2005 and 2009. The organization's website says these other Kentuckians were chosen by video audition for the Honor Band:
Jessica Adams, Grant Arnold, Tanner Calvert, Trevor Rosania and Travis Rosania of Montgomery County High School in Mount Sterling; Grey Arnold of J.B. McNabb Middle School in Mt. Sterling; Kristin Darland and Rebecca Palmer of Henry Clay High School in Lexington; Alex Hezik of Campbellsville, a student at Western Kentucky University; Elizabeth Howell of Lexington, a Lafayette High School graduate; Kristen Shearer of Bourbon County High School in Paris; and Emily Shouse and Hannah Shouse of Louisville Male High School.
Tom Eblen: (859) 231-1415. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @tomeblen. Blog: tomeblen.bloginky.com