GREENFIELD — As Dana Sutherlin stood on the sidelines watching her brother perform in the Rose Parade four years ago, she knew she too wanted to perform in Pasadena some day.

The crowd, the excitement — it stuck with her. Denton Sutherlin spent a week in California, making new friends from across the country as they practiced for and performed in the beloved New Year’s Day parade.

This week, Dana, the daughter of Dave and Patti Sutherlin, gets to do the same.

The Mt. Vernon senior was selected to represent Bands of America as a dancer at the 128th Rose Parade on Monday. This week, she leaves for Southern California, where she’ll spend the week rehearsing ahead of the parade and having a little fun at tourist attractions including Disneyland.

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Dana, who dances at Wilkerson Dance Studio, was chosen among hundreds of applicants across the country to participate in the Bands of America Honor Band in the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade.

The Bands of America Honor Band boasts a 300-piece national ensemble with winds, percussion and a flag and dance team. Bob Buckner, who recently retired as director of the Western Carolina University Pride of the Mountains Marching Band, will direct the 2017 honor band, according to a news release from the organization.

The Rose Parade is planned for Monday, the day following New Year’s Day since the holiday falls on a Sunday this year.

The 5.5-mile parade featuring floats donned with floral arrangements will be broadcast on ABC, the Hallmark Channel, HGTV, KTLA (Tribune), NBC, RFD-TV and Univision.

Students selected to perform in the parade serve as ambassadors for Bands of America as well as their schools and communities, Eric Martin, President and CEO of Music for All, which sponsors Bands for America, said in a news release.

“To be selected for this opportunity is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for students and a testimony to their excellence and achievements,” he said.

For Dana, participating in the parade is an opportunity to make new friends from around the country who share her passion for performance. Though she’ll arrive in California knowing no one, she hopes to leave with relationships that will last for many years.

She’s known since 2012, when her brother performed in the parade with Bands of America, that she wanted to audition for the opportunity.

But she’d have just one shot — Bands of America performs in the parade only once every four years.

Earlier this school year, Dana submitted a video of her dancing to the organization. A week later, she learned she’s been picked to be part of the honor band.

For weeks, she’s been practicing the choreography  for the performance. Bands of America posted the routine in a video online for members to practice individually ahead of the week in California.

In between finals at school — and just about every other free moment she had this week — she was watching the video, she said.

Once she arrives in California, the group will rehearse together for several days before performing at the Tournament of Roses BandFest and in Disneyland. Her final performance will be on a world stage, as the Rose Parade is broadcast across the world, a news release states.

Though she’s a little nervous for the big performance, Dana said she’s mostly excited for the experience.

She can’t wait to meet the people she’ll be dancing alongside.

Having the chance to perform her art on such a big stage is just icing on the cake, Dana said.

Mom Patti Sutherlin said she’s eager to return to Pasadena. Seeing the parade in person, rather than on the TV, and watching her child march down Colorado Boulevard was an awesome experience she’s excited to repeat, she said.

“People would call and text and say they saw him on TV,” she said. “I’m sure they’ll be calling for her, too.”


Dana Sutherlin, a Mt. Vernon senior and dancer at Wilkerson Dance Studio, was selected to represent Bands of America in the Rose Parade Monday.

The parade starts at 11 a.m. eastern time and will be broadcast on ABC, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, KTLA (Tribune), NBC, RFD-TV and Univision.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or