Seventy-six trombones may lead the big parade, but Payson High School junior Mark Hansen leads the band.
And last week, the 17-year-old drum major led the Payson High School band to an "excellent" rating for the second year in a row during State Band Day in Mesa.
"I like being a leader and directing," he said. "Being in the center of the music is so cool -- I just like it so much."
And Hansen's love for music shows on stage.
Earlier this year, he won the Outstanding Drum Major Award at Eastern Arizona College's Band Day in Thatcher -- the second year in a row he's earned the honor.
Hansen said he plans to "at least minor in music" when he graduates from Payson High in May 2001.
"I plan to go to any college that will accept me for a baseball scholarship," he said.
Hansen will have the opportunity Dec. 14 to show off his talents when the school band and chorus present their Winter Concert at the high school auditorium. Admission will be by donation, and all the money collected will be used to fund band and chorus projects and travel expenses.
Hansen also will lead the band at the school's basketball games and wrestling matches.
High school music teacher Larry Potvin said Mark and the band will then get down to the business of practicing for the school's Spring Festival and graduation.
"They're a great group of kids who have come a long way," he said. "Being the music director at the high school, I've had the privilege and pleasure of working with some of the finest vocal students in Arizona. (They've) received compliments and encouragement from the choir directors of the Northeast Region, of which we are a part."
Potvin said he's particularly looking forward to working with Hansen next year.
"I've never had a drum major receive an award like that for two years in a row," he said. "I've seen him grow as a drum major, as a competent leader who still keeps his feet on the ground.
"I couldn't have asked for a better right-hand man. I'm looking forward to the endless possibilities for next year."
For his part, Hansen said music has opened up a world of possibilities.
"I've learned so much -- how to be a better musician, how to be a good example to others. I've learned that all things are possible.
"When we pulled together at state, I saw that was true. If you pull together as a team, all things are possible."