From Sand to Snow

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By Elizabeth Bandera

This past winter break was absolutely amazing! I traveled all the way from Hawaii to New York – polar opposites. As the title says, from sand to snow. The transition was a little hard, going from sunny Hawaii with the Mustang Marching Band to Syracuse, New York to visit the entire Italian family, but it was so nice to see all of my relatives for the holidays.

The Mustang Marching Band flew all the way out to beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii to play at the Hawaii Sheraton Bowl Game. Guess what…SMU WON! 91% of America voted that Nevada was going to beat us, but the good ol’ Mustangs pulled through and crushed them in a 45-10 victory. Holy smokes…I still cannot believe how well our team played. Good job boys!

Though the game was certainly a highlight of the trip, we were there for a solid 4-day stay and took every chance we got to go to the beach, sightsee, and just explore Hawaii. Below is a photo of our very first morning in Hawaii, all ready to go to the beach! It was absolutely wonderful outside…plam trees, 70-80 degree weather, soft sand…perfection. Alot of people went swimming, but a few took surf lessons or rented a big banana boat to take out onto the ocean. It was a very surreal feeling, being in tropical weather so close to Christmas…I felt like Christmas was going to pass me by while I was in Hawaii due to the lack of Christmas-like weather!
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(All ready to go to the beach)

One of the days we all visited the Pearl Harbor Memorial, which was stunning and quite moving. the U.S.S. Arizona, which the memorial is built over is still leaking oil to this day. One vetran said the oil was the tears of those mourning those lost during Pearl Harbor and only when the last veteran who survived Pearl Harbor is reunited with his brothers will the tears cease. Being the emotional basket-case that I am, I cried. Seeing the memorial for the first time has a very powerful affect on a person. I was told that the structure sags in the center but stands strong and vigorous at the ends, expressing initial defeat and ultimate victory….The overall effect is one of serenity. Below is a photo of me with the oldest surviving Pearl Harbor veteran, Herb Weatherwax, who was a very lovely old man.
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(Me and Herb)

The band also had the opportunity to play at the Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu. They had multiple speakers, along with June Jones and Rudy Ruettiger, who’s life and inspiring football career was turned into the 1993 film Rudy. Below is a photo of me and my good friends Tyler and Kayli, fellow bandmate and twirler, at the airforce base!
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(Hickam Air Force Base – we thought it would be amusing to pose like planes)

Finally game day came…we were pumped! We were all pretty nervous about playing against Nevada, but we had hope that SMU could win despite what the critics had said. The entire game seems like a blur now, but it was absolutly incredible. Holy cow. Below is a photo of me and my good friend Ryan in the stands, getting ready to play and cheer our team on! The end of the game was the best – everyone swarmed over to the band and we played the school song, Varsity, while everyone sang along.
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(Me and Ryan, ready to play in our candy-striped vests)

Best…break…EVER.
Until next time ~ Much love!

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