Thursday, June 30 2022

Sophomore Braden Cook poses for a photo with Stevenson High School group principal Michael Sekich. Cook was selected to perform on New Years Day in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

Photo provided by Tim McAvoy

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP / UTICA – A sophomore from Utica Community Schools has been selected to perform in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif. On New Years Day with the Salvation Army Marching Band.

Braden Cook, a student at Stevenson High School, was selected to participate in the 133rd Tournament of Roses Parade as a percussionist in the group of approximately 200 Salvation Army members. The Rose Parade precedes the Rose Bowl football game and features impressive floats, groups, and other attractions. It is broadcast on several television channels on New Years morning.

Stevenson Group Director Michael Sekich said he was “super proud” of Cook. Cook has played tenor drums for the past two years in the Marching Titans group.

“I am very proud of Braden. He always works hard to be the best he can be, not just as a musician, but as a human being. It was great cheering her on that day from my family room, ”Sekich said in an email to the Shelby-Utica News.

Sekich praised Cook’s initiative to get involved with another group.

“I encourage kids to do this all the time to get involved in higher level extracurricular groups. What they learn there, they will take back to our ensembles and set the bar even higher, ”he said in a press release from the Utica community schools.

Cook could not be reached before the deadline for this story, but according to the school district, he and the other group members selected for the Rose Parade trained regularly before the parade. They gathered in California several days before the parade to put the finishing touches on their performance.

Cook’s passion for music is said to have started when he started playing drums in college. The press release says it was a logical choice for Cook, as he was “always tapping on things.”

Cook thanked his parents and the teachers in the UCS group for cultivating his skills and interest in music, and it could now turn into a career.

“Music is a connection. He can bring people together and help people through difficult times. It can make people cry. I want to bring these things to people, ”Cook said in the press release.

Cook also has tips for those who are considering becoming musicians.

“Follow it in a comfortable way and (don’t feel) forced,” he said in the statement.

Cook is the second UCS student to participate in the Rose Parade with the Salvation Army Band. Jon Heaver, then a student at Heritage Junior High School, participated in the parade in 2006.

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