Photos: Chaka Khan and Gerald Freeny at Rose Parade Grand Marshal Announcement

Chaka Khan, 2019 Rose Parade Grand Marshal, was surprised by the colorful confetti raining down when she came through the purple curtains.

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The announcement of the Grand Marshal for the 130th Tournament of Roses Parade had the usual elements. Oct. 17 was a beautiful, warm day, the front porch of Tournament House was gorgeously draped, the band was great, the press stand packed. There was the usual excitement in the audience, waiting to find out who would ride in the Grand Marshal’s car on Jan. 1, 2019. When Chaka Khan was announced, the crowd roared and the confetti cannon went off.

Known as the “Queen of Funk,” Chaka also sings R&B, pop, rock, gospel, and country. We asked what other music she likes; she responded, “I love Indian music.” She just finished a project in the Gujarati language with Indian performer Sonu Nigam, which celebrates the life of Gandhi.

Check out the gallery below for photos, and this link for a video on the TOR Rose Parade Facebook page.

But there was a lot that was unusual in the announcement.

There were fewer hints in the food served, music played, decorations (except for the purple drapes), yet from the murmurs in the crowd, it seemed like more people than normal had an idea of whom it would be. That may have been because more details were released ahead of time—10 Grammy awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a place in the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. In his introduction, Pres. Gerald Freeny gave more details that confirmed those hunches, and affirmed that she was indeed a performer who would sing and dance in the opening act of the parade.

Chaka and her retinue were late, reportedly due to LA traffic. The Tournament, which makes sure the Rose Parade starts at 8 a.m. on the dot and the Rose Bowl Game coin toss is never late, announced that the star player would be 15 minutes behind the 9 a.m. start time. It was a quarter after when family members took their seats in the front row, and past 9:30 when Freeny stepped up to the lectern.

Now, a heads-up: Much of this article reflects the opinions of the writer, which is also unusual. If there is one constant in the feelings of folks who love the Rose Parade, it is that they very rarely and almost never publicly criticize the choice of a theme or Grand Marshal. People tend to be pretty polite when it comes to this grand old Pasadena tradition, and the criticism The Rose Examiner heard was couched in the politest terms.

There was disappointment about Chaka’s speech, which seemed thoroughly unprepared. She opened with “Well, I just don’t know where to go with this,” but added, “I’m so honored.” She thrice referred to “the Rose Bowl Parade,” which any GM would have been coached not to do. The theme, “The Melody of Life,” was garbled into “The Rhythm of Life.” References to the parade indicated that she had just not done her homework. (To her credit, she did name the Old Pasadena business district correctly.)

Other than noting that the floats are pretty, she seemed to have no interest in the Rose Parade. She said, “I remember looking at it. But not really looking…. Y’know, it was after the big game.” The game actually comes after the parade. It did seem she was a tad self-conscious—she said, “I hope you like me” and acknowledged that she was “a little bit scared.”

She said little about the Chaka Khan Foundation or what it does. This contrasted with previous Grand Marshals, such as Gary Sinise, whose tireless work for veterans is well known and very personal to him. Jane Goodall had not known about our American tradition when approached, but took the time to find out and agreed to be GM, because it is consistent with the values of her charitable work. Actor J.R. Martinez was not a star but has an amazing, compelling story and whose courage is indisputable.

There was also some speculation that Stevie Wonder, whom Freeny mentioned three times, was his first choice for Grand Marshal, not Chaka. Indicators were her lack of preparation and not having any idea what she would do for the opening show. Be that as it may, it is not unusual for a president to go with a second or third choice and it doesn’t reflect on how good a GM might be.

A friend of your Rose Examiner was refused by his first choice, who was not available on New Year’s Day, and his second choice backed out at the last minute. His third choice, Gregory Peck, proved to be one of the happiest GMs ever. When he was a child, his family drove up from San Diego to watch the parade every year. One year, they took a stray dog back with them. He was the first, and perhaps only, GM to get the Tournament time on The Tonight Show, due to his friendship with Johnny Carson.

Another late choice was Chesley Sullenberger III for 2010—late, because the TOR president had passed away before choosing a Grand Marshal. Yet what better choice could there have been that year for the theme “A Cut Above the Rest” than the “Hero of the Hudson.”

The Chaka Khan Foundation

Perhaps these comments come out of a suspicion about non-profits, due to years of working for both good ones and bad ones. It is difficult to tell from the foundation website whether the organization is actually out in the community working on programs, or simply partnering with other organizations that do the work. It is fine if a foundation does not actually create or run programs, but supports successful programs financially and with star power. That should be clear in the material, though, whether spoken, written, or posted online. It would have been good to hear more about it from the Tournament media release or Chaka herself.

Chaka established the Chaka Khan Foundation in 1999. The mission statement is “The Chaka Khan Foundation educates, inspires and empowers children in our community to achieve their full potential.” The foundation website says “The Chaka Khan Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.”

However, it does not show up by EIN search on either Charity Navigator or GuideStar, and only on GuideStar by name, with the note “This organization’s exempt status was automatically revoked by the IRS for failure to file a Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-N, or 990-PF for 3 consecutive years. Further investigation and due diligence are warranted.” The “foundation team” has photos but no names attached, and does not state that is a board of directors as required by law. The only information on  the team page is a long promotional piece for the album “ClassiKhan.”

If Chaka did not do her homework on the Tournament of Roses, it appears that the Tournament of Roses did not do its homework on her foundation, either.

 

Chaka Khan is the Grand Marshal of the 2019 Rose Parade!

Chaka Khan accepted the honor of Grand Marshal of the 130th Rose Parade from Pres. Gerald Freeny.

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Speculation was rampant. Who would be the chosen one to lead the 130th Tournament of Roses Parade? With a theme of “The Melody of Life” and Pres. Gerald Freeny’s love of jazz and Motown, it was pretty obvious it would be a musician. And it is. At Tournament House this morning, as Pres. Freeny’s read her name, Chaka Khan stepped through the white and purple curtains to accept honor of Grand Marshal of the 2019 Rose Parade.

Khan is a perfect choice, not only because of her 10 Grammys, star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and place in the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame, but because, as with Freeny himself, she considers life to be melody that is universal. She told The Rose Examiner that she is currently working on a project with Indian singer Sonu Nigam. She’s learning to sing in his language, Gujarati.

The event started a bit late, due to delays on the way to Pasadena. As her family took their seats, everyone else sat on the edge of theirs. As Freeny read of Khan’s achievements before announcing her name, more and more people realized which name he was going to say. We’ve got lots of photos—return to this page for a full gallery!

 

Who’s your guess for the 2019 Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal?

2019 Tournament of Roses poster

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The person—or persons—who will serve as Grand Marshal for the 130th Rose Parade and toss the coin for the 105th Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2019 will be announced at Tournament House on Wednesday, October 17 at 9 a.m. Pres. Gerald Freeny will do the honors Who will it be?

The theme is “The Melody of Life,” so that’s a clue. The poster and signs feature a saxophone—could that be a clue? Pres. Freeny likes jazz, but also rock and hymnody. Here’s what we wrote after we interviewed him last January:

With such an expansive theme, it’s difficult to make guesses about who the Grand Marshal might be. Freeny said they are working on several. He, his wife Trina, and adult daughter Erica are “praying to get who we really, really want.” They aren’t short on suggestions, though. One was Condoleeza Rice, who is a highly talented pianist as well as having served as both National Security Advisor and Secretary of State for George W. Bush. Even her name is melodious: It’s derived from con dolcezza, a musical term meaning “with sweetness.” LA Phil music director Gustavo Dudamel has been mentioned, but Freeny’s frat brothers in Kappa Alpha Psi are pushing for someone from Motown. He even opined that it could be more than one, as Brad Ratliff had in the 2017 parade.

Our guesses include classical music artists such as Condi Rice or local hero Gustavo Dudamel, Broadway star Audra McDonald, or an entire group from rock, Motown, or other popular music genre. Somehow, however, we just don’t have a handle on where this might go. There are too many genres of music and too many great musicians to make an educated guess.

Let us know yours in the comments! You have to sign in (this is to avoid spam comments), but we never use your information. And don’t forget to watch the announcement, streaming live on Facebook!

Honoring vets in the 2018 Rose Parade with USMC, GM Gary Sinise, Purple Heart: Photos

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The four entries leading off the 2018 Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1 formed a group tribute to veterans of United States military service: USMC Mounted Color Guard, USMC West Coast Composite Band, Grand Marshal Gary Sinise, and the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs float. The float, “Sacrifice to Serve,” was co-sponsored by the Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A., Inc. to honor recipients of the Purple Heart, which is awarded to service members who were injured in battle.

The color guard is a fixture at the front of the Rose Parade. Headquartered at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Barstow, Calif., it is the last remaining US Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard. The Marines ride rescued wild mustangs, adopted through the Bureau of Land Management’s Adopt a Horse program. GySgt Carlton Esswein is the Staff NCO in charge of the unit; MCLB Barstow commanding officer is Col. Sekou Karega and the base sergeant major is SgtMaj Sergio MartinezRuiz.

Small but mighty, the USMC West Coast Composite Band plays the Marine’s Hymn and other march favorites. For 2018, the band was comprised of Marine Band San Diego, First Marine Division Band, and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band led by drum major GySgt Hugh Wurts. CWO3 Christian Flores, Band Officer and MGySgt Brian Paradis, Bandmaster, direct the band. All band members are fully combat trained, and many have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Grand Marshal Gary Sinise has worked with veterans’ organizations for decades and established the Gary Sinise Foundation to better serve them. His work fits well with the parade theme “Making a Difference.” Sinise was thrilled to be chosen as the Rose Parade Grand Marshal, because he grew up watching the parade and realizes the honor and reach of this annual tradition.

The 1919 Dodge Brothers automobile that carried him and his wife, Moira Harris, was the car driven by Jimmy Stewart (himself a WWII veteran) in It’s a Wonderful Life and is used by owners Keith and Marilyn Smith to raise money for veteran groups. The movie was the holiday entertainment of choice for the family of Tournament of Roses Pres. Lance Tibbet, so the car is special to him, as well.

The Rose Examiner has posted several articles about Gary Sinise and the car:

Gary Sinise, humanitarian and actor, is Grand Marshal for 2018 Rose Parade

Photo gallery: Tournament of Roses 2018 Grand Marshal Gary Sinise

Grand Marshal Gary Sinise tries out his Rose Parade ride

“Sacrifice to Serve,” the 69th Rose Parade entry for Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Rose Float, Inc., won the Director Award for most outstanding artistic design and floral presentation. It was designed by Michelle Lofthouse and built by Phoenix Decorating Company. The float used 158,320 roses and other flowers, as well as a large variety of dry materials. Pampas and buffalo grasses, palm bark and palm bark fiber, and hand-cut corn husk feathers covered the imposing eagle. The purple heart at the front was created with dark blue iris, yellow and white mums, gold clover and flax seed, and fine-cut yellow strawflower. Floragraphs used onion powder, poppy seed, rice, ground split pea, strawflower, statice, walnut shell, and coffee.

All photos copyright 2018 by LB Monteros.

 

2019 Tournament of Roses

 

THE MELODY OF LIFE

The 2019 Tournament of Roses in photos and stories

With bands from all over the world marching in the 130th Rose Parade and performing at Bandfest, “America’s New Year Celebration” promises to live up to the theme “The Melody of Life.” The days before and after the parade and 105th Rose Bowl Game are filled with things to do for people of all ages and abilities. Locals and visitors can attend Bandfest, Equestfest, Decorating Places, Showcase of Floats, and Live on Green

The big events, of course, are the parade and game, held on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. The Rose parade is a two-hour extravaganza of flower-covered floats, cars carrying Tournament of Roses celebrities, marching bands, and equestrian units. The Rose Bowl Game pits top football teams in “The Granddaddy of Them All,” the oldest post-season collegiate bowl game.

Whether you watch online, on television, or live in Pasadena, The Rose Examiner will keep you informed. This page will be updated as new articles are added. Subscribe for free by filling out the box at the top of the left column, and be sure to bookmark this page and return to it frequently! You can also follow “All Things Rose Parade” on Facebook.

Poster courtesy of Pasadena Tournament of Roses

General Information

There is no such thing as the Rose BOWL Parade!

Will it rain on my Rose Parade? The rules: No Sundays, water themes, or Supreme Court Justices equals no rain

What’s in a nickname? How Pasadena California is known to locals and the world

Tournament of Roses News & Events

Make a real difference with Real Change meters

Rose Parade

Information, floats, marching bands, and equestrians

The 2019 Royal Court  Articles will be posted beginning in late August

Articles & albums about the Tournament of Roses Royal Court

Rose Bowl Game  Articles will be posted as information is released

Information, events, people

Special Events

Tickets for the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade on sale now

Rose Parade 2019 events: Buy tickets for Bandfest, Equestfest, Decorating Places, Showcase of Floats

Tournament House open for public tours through August

Celebrities & Sponsors

Tournament of Roses Pres. Gerald Freeny sings ‘The Melody of Life’

Gerald Freeny elected Tournament of Roses president; theme is ‘The Melody of Life’

Tournament of Roses announces executive committee for 2018-2019

Tournament of Roses creates Rose Parade development office

Helpful Links

Tournament of Roses

Tournament of Roses Parade Day Guide

Visit Pasadena Rose Parade spectator guide

Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau

Rose Bowl Stadium

Visit Pasadena Rose Bowl Game spectator guide

Rose Parade official tours at PrimeSport

Rose Bowl Game official tours at PrimeSport

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grand Marshal Gary Sinise tries out his Rose Parade ride

The Grand Marshal sees his chariot for the first time. L-R: Moira Harris, designer J. Keith White, Gary Sinise, Kathy Perini from the Tournament Entries Committee

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The Rose Examiner got a tip a couple days ago that 2018 Rose Parade Grand Marshal Gary Sinise would be at Rosemont Pavilion on Dec. 31 to try out the fit of the 1919 Dodge Brothers car that will take him along the parade route on Jan. 1. We weren’t disappointed and neither was Sinise. He and his wife Moira Harris seemed very pleased with the gorgeous floral decoration by J. Keith White, AIFD CFD and the classic beauty of the 1919 Dodge Brothers car.

The vehicle was driven by Jimmy Stewart in the 1947 movie It’s a Wonderful Life as the George Bailey family car. This car has a special meaning for Tournament of Roses Pres. Lance Tibbet, because his theme, “Making a Difference,” was chosen in part out of a family tradition of watching the film every Christmas. It is now owned by Keith and Marilyn Smith of Johnstown, Colo. It’s fitting that it will carry Sinise, a Continue reading “Grand Marshal Gary Sinise tries out his Rose Parade ride”

Photo gallery: Tournament of Roses 2018 Grand Marshal Gary Sinise

Gary Sinise and Pres. Lance Tibbet at the announcement of the 2018 Rose Parade Grand Marshal. Photo by LB Monteros

by Laura Berthold Monteros 

The pictures tell the story—Gary Sinise accepts the honor to serve as the Grand Marshal for the 129th Rose Parade and 104th Rose Bowl Game for Jan. 1, 2017 from Pres. Lance Tibbet. Sinise was chosen for his exceptional humanitarian work with veterans and first responders. He embodies the theme “Making a Difference.” For more about the ceremony, read “Gary Sinise, humanitarian and actor, is Grand Marshal for 2018 Rose Parade.”

Preceding the announcement, the crowd was entertained with numbers from the World War II era played by the Fabus Four and sung by the San Andreas Sisters. The group was every bit as tight as swing era bands and had the style down to a T. Here’s their rendition of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”  We apologize for the quality of the video!

All photos are copyrighted. Contact administrator for permissions.

Gary Sinise, humanitarian and actor, is Grand Marshal for 2018 Rose Parade

Gary Sinise, Grand Marshal of the 2018 Rose Parade, shakes hand with Pres. Lance Tibbett. Photo by LB Monteros

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Media and guests were entertained by the San Andreas Sisters swing singers before the announcement, so guesses about World War II vets or actors in WWII movies, since one of the hints beforehand was about the Academy Awards, were rampant. Tournament of Roses President Lance Tibbet took the stage and dropped the typical hints—“selfless service,” “incredible humanitarian,” “embodiment of the theme,” which is “Making a Difference.”

“The Tournament is about many things,” he said, “…but mostly, it’s about people quietly doing good things.” People who put the “kind” in humankind.

As is the wont of the presidents, Tibbet slowly narrowed the field. This person cofounded a theater company that is a training ground for actors, writers, directors. Charitable and altruistic efforts Continue reading “Gary Sinise, humanitarian and actor, is Grand Marshal for 2018 Rose Parade”

Guessing game: Who will the 2018 Rose Parade Grand Marshal be?

by Laura Berthold Monteros

There are two questions people ask when it comes to the Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal: Who will it be? and When will it be announced?” The answer to the second is probably the last week in October, but the answer to the first is up for grabs. Who will ride down Colorado Blvd. in a spiffy car at the Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2018? Guess along with me.

Some clues

Courtesy Pasadena Tournament of Roses
  • The theme of the 129th Tournament of Roses is “Making a Difference.” Pres. Lance Tibbet describes it as celebrating “the power of kindness and the people in our communities that make a positive difference without reservation.”
  • There are some key words that stand out. “Communities” implies local difference-makers, those people who may not be terribly famous, but who see a need and meet it. “Without reservation” might imply that the person acts without considering what it might cost her personally, and without any idea of gaining from it herself. “Kindness” is especially important. The Grand Marshal will not be someone who only gives money.
  • The poster, which looks like a grafitti-covered wall, has a graphic that reads “human + kind” with u + i in light blue letters. This might mean that the Grand Marshal will be someone who makes a difference by enabling others to do so.

Continue reading “Guessing game: Who will the 2018 Rose Parade Grand Marshal be?”

2018 Tournament of Roses

2018 Tournament of Roses Theme poster. Courtesy Pasadena TOR.

 

“MAKING A DIFFERENCE”

The 129th Tournament of Roses in photos and stories

The Tournament of Roses in Pasadena is more than the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2018. It is the week-long “America’s New Year Celebration,” chock full of floats, bands, equestrians, and family-friendly activities. Visitors can attend Bandfest, Equestfest, Decorating Places, Showcase of Floats, and Live on Green.

The 129th Rose Parade features bands from all over the world, equestrian groups, and around 45 flower-covered floats presenting the theme “Making a Difference.” The 104th Rose Bowl Game pits the top teams in “The Granddaddy of Them All,” the oldest post-season collegiate bowl game.

Read all about it by clicking on the links below, which contain information about the events and people involved as well as tips on attending the events and getting around.  The list will be updated as articles are posted.  Be sure to bookmark this page and return to it frequently!

 

General Information

INSIDER’S GUIDE TO THE 2018 TOURNAMENT OF ROSES

2018 TOURNAMENT OF ROSES CALENDAR

There is no such thing as the Rose BOWL Parade!

Will it rain on my Rose Parade? The rules: No Sundays, water themes, or Supreme Court Justices equals no rain

What’s in a nickname? How Pasadena California is known to locals and the world

Tournament of Roses News & Events

Make a real difference with Real Change meters

Rose Parade 

Information, floats, marching bands, and equestrians

The 2018 Royal Court

Articles & albums about the Tournament of Roses Royal Court

Rose Bowl Game

Information, events, people

Special Events

Tournament House open for public tours through August

Bandfest show schedule for 2018 Rose Parade marching units

Bandfest, Equestfest, Decorating Places, Showcase of Floats for 129th Tournament of Roses

Tournament of Roses Foundation presents $200,000 in grants to SGV non-profits

Phoenix Decorating Company chosen to design gateway arch to Arroyo Seco Weekend

Even after 100 years, a Rose Queen is forever at Pasadena Museum of History

Celebrities & Sponsors

Celebrity lineup in the 2018 Rose Parade: Rose Queen, Pres. Tibbet, PCC Honor Band

Honoring vets in the 2018 Rose Parade with USMC, GM Gary Sinise, Purple Heart: Photos

Rose Parade rides: A car that’s a star and vintage autos for the celebrities

Grand Marshal Gary Sinise tries out his Rose Parade ride

Gary Sinise, humanitarian and actor, is Grand Marshal for 2018 Rose Parade

Photo gallery: 2018 Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal Gary Sinise

Tournament of Roses Pres. Lance Tibbet is aiming on ‘Making a Difference’ in 2018 

David Eads of LA Chamber announced as new Executive Director/CEO of  Pasadena Tournament of Roses

Guessing game: Who will the 2018 Rose Parade Grand Marshal be?

Helpful Links

Tournament of Roses

Tournament of Roses Parade Day Guide

Visit Pasadena Rose Parade spectator guide

Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau

Rose Bowl Stadium

Visit Pasadena Rose Bowl Game spectator guide

Rose Parade official tours at PrimeSport

Rose Bowl Game official tours at PrimeSport