Two Green Bay band directors marching in Rose Parade
By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY – The Badgers may not be in this year’s Rose Bowl, but Wisconsin won’t go unrepresented in Pasadena this new year.
Two Green Bay School District band directors – Sara Baye and John Quigley – will join hundreds of other band directors from across all 50 states and Mexico as they march in the Band Directors Marching Band in the 2022 Rose Parade.
The band will perform several pieces of music, including a special arrangement of “Seventy-Six Trombones,” “Salute to America’s Music Makers,” “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” “Strike Up the Band” and “Sing, Sing, Sing.”
The band will be accompanied by a custom-designed animated float with the theme, “We teach music. We teach life.”
Band Directors Marching Band organizers said the parade performance is a way to recognize and salute the dedication and accomplishments of band directors everywhere – public and private schools at all levels, colleges and universities, the military and community bands.
The Band Directors Marching Band will be directed by nationally-known band director John Waters.
Baye, director of bands at Lombardi Middle and Southwest High School, said, for her, the 5.5-mile trek on New Year’s Day is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“I am, of course, incredibly excited to be in the parade since it’s something I’ve watched on TV every year since I was little,” she said.
Baye attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, majoring in music education, with a minor in Spanish.
“I was involved in countless sports and other clubs throughout school, but band was the place where I felt like I belonged, and could be 100% myself,” she said. “Music classes bring together the most unique group of individuals with a huge range of playing abilities and very unique talents, but somehow everyone fits and has a place in the ensemble. Everyone is important. I love getting to know my students and being able to work with them from the time they’re 12 until they graduate at 18.”
Baye said she was fortunate to march for five seasons with the UW-Eau Claire Blugold Marching Band, which travels and performs extensively throughout the Midwest and the world.
“We performed at Packer games, Bands of America Super Regionals in St. Louis, in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, at the colosseum in Rome and onboard the Costa Serena Cruise ship,” she said.
A Green Bay native, Baye returned home after graduating and said she couldn’t imagine teaching anywhere else.
“I was hired at Southwest High School right after graduation, and this is now my ninth year in the district,” she said. “I taught high school band and orchestra at Southwest for my first six years, and 7-12th grade band at both Lombardi and Southwest for the last three years. In addition, I run the marching band, color guard, pep band, drumline, jazz band and pit orchestra at Southwest.”
Baye said she is excited for the opportunity to play with hundreds of other band directors.
“As a band director, you’re often the only one in your school (or one of very few) and you often feel very isolated,” she said. “It will be amazing to spend several days learning from and networking with other people who do what I do. I’m also really excited to be able to rehearse with and meet so many outstanding band directors from all over the country. It will be amazing to spend several days learning from and networking with other people who do what I do.”
Baye said she has played clarinet and saxophone for 22 years.
She said she will be playing the clarinet in the parade.
Baye said she is also excited for the mini-vacation of sorts the trip will provide her and her family.
“I’m looking forward to sharing this experience and trip with my parents, who are both coming along to watch,” she said. “They’ve been at nearly every performance I’ve ever been a part of – both as a musician and as a director – since I started clarinet in fifth grade. They’re my best supporters and biggest fans.”
Baye is also an accomplished ballroom dancer.
“In my free time I’m a competitive ballroom dancer and spend quite a bit of time at the studio,” she said.
Quigley, an elementary band and orchestra director, said he lives and breathes music.
“(My wife, Jill) is also a musician,” Quigley said. “We perform together in a jazz quartet and brass quintet, in addition to solo performances for weddings and special events.”
He began playing the trumpet in fifth grade.
“Though I was a bashful, reluctant singer, I realized that music was an important connection for me,” he said. “Through middle and high school I performed a lot, most importantly with the Americanos Drum and Bugle Corps. We would travel the Midwest, performing in parades and competitions, and I made some of my dearest friends.”
Quigley said it was during this time that he realized he had an affinity to conduct and lead musical groups.
“As a section leader, I was developing skills to help run rehearsals, or explain to other corps members musical concepts or how pieces might fit together,” he said. “In my high school marching band, I wrote the visual drill routine of our halftime show, charting the formations and helping to teach my classmates.”
During his undergraduate studies at Lawrence University, Quigley said he had the opportunity to play in bands, orchestra, jazz ensembles and a variety of small groups.
“It confirmed my passion for all things musical, and gave me the tools to be an effective teacher,” he said. “I like teaching because of the enormous variety of activities and styles of music. In a single day, I get to work with students, listen to great music, maybe play in a pep band at a sporting event, lead a pit orchestra for music theater and/or march in a parade.”
He said he enjoys seeing his students work hard to achieve their goals.
This is his eighth year with the Green Bay School District, 29th year of teaching overall.
“I teach elementary band, and travel to seven elementary schools each week – Doty, King, Langlade, Lincoln, McAuliffe, Sullivan and Tank,” he said. “Fifth grade is the first year of band and orchestra instruments in most of our schools, and these kids bring enthusiasm and energy to every lesson.”
Quigley said he found out about the chance to perform in the Tournament of Roses Parade through a Facebook friend.
“They tagged me and said, ‘This sounds like something that you might enjoy,’” he said. “I’ve been practicing and memorizing the routine for months. This summer, I trained by walking many miles, since the parade route is 5.5 miles long.”
Quigley said he’s excited to perform for the live audience in Pasadena, which is nearly a million people along the parade route, as well as the TV audience.
“I’m especially proud that our group will be made up entirely of school band directors, wonderful people who have dedicated their lives to sharing music with young people,” he said. “After being a ‘homebody’ for the past 18 months, it will be nice to travel outside of Wisconsin. My wife is coming along, and we’ve extended the trip by several days to allow some vacation time.”
Quigley said during the parade, he will wear a custom T-shirt which recognizes his musical mentors.
“It’s like they’ll be marching down the road with me,” he said. “Every good idea that I use in teaching is the result of studying with amazing professionals. Music education is a generous, nurturing community, and I can hear the voices of my music teachers many times over when I’m in the classroom.”
Quigley’s no stranger to the Tournament of Roses Parade.
“When I was in college, I was selected to appear in the parade as a member of the United Way Centennial Fanfare Band,” he said. “That organization was celebrating 100 years, and they did it by having 100 fanfare trumpet players (two from each state) in their band. It was a great way to start my career as a band teacher and marching band enthusiast. Now I’m getting closer to retirement age, and this seems like an appropriate ‘bookend’ as I get ready to slow down a bit.”
For the past year, Quigley has dabbled in a different leadership position.