Marching units that are invited to the Tournament of Roses Parade are among the highest quality in the United States. Their musicality and marching precision must meet rigorous standards. A high school band cannot march in the parade more often than once every four years, so almost all the students are new—and excited—when they walk along Colorado Blvd.
This photo gallery includes marching entries in the 129th Rose Parade from east of the Rockies.
Londonderry High School The Marching Lancer Band and Color Guard, Londonderry, N.H.
University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band, Amherst, Mass.
Louisburg High School Marching Wildcat Band, Louisburg, Kan.
Albertville High School “Aggie” Band, Albertville, Ala.
Ronald Reagan High School Marching Band, San Antonio, Texas
Westlake High School Marching Thunder, Saratoga Springs, Utah
Pennsbury High School “Long Orange Line” Marching Band, Fairless Hills, Pa.
Lindbergh “Spirit of St. Louis” Marching Band, St. Louis, Mo.
For other articles on marching bands, as well as floats and equestrians, check out the 2018 Rose Parade page.
Burlington Teen Tour Band from Ontario, Canada carried the flags of the Canadian provinces and territories in the 2018 Rose Parade.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
Marching units come from all over the world to participate in the Tournament of Roses Parade. The bands, with their drill teams, flags, and banners bring international color and music that represents their countries. The different styles or marching, particularly from the Japanese bands that display dance moves along with their music, added flair to the 129th Rose Parade.
The marching entries in this photo gallery include both international and California local units, plus one from Colorado.
Kyoto Tachibana High School Green Band, Fushimi-ky, Kyoto, Japan
Australia’s Marching Koalas, Newcastle, South New Wales, Australia
Air Academy High School Marching Band, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Burlington Teen Tour Band, Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Homestead High School Mighty Mustang Marching Band, Cupertino, Calif.
Banda de Música Herberto López, Chitré, Panama
Santiago High School “The Boss” (Bands of the Santiago Sharks), Corona, Calif.
For other articles on marching bands, as well as floats and equestrians, check out the 2018 Rose Parade page.
In September, 2017, the United States territory of Puerto Rico was pounded by Hurricane Maria. Businesses, homes, and vital services were destroyed. Some families lost everything they had. The wind and rain not only devastated the commonwealth, it has nearly sunk the dreams of a group of talented high schoolers headed for the Jan. 1, 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade.
Each entry in the Rose Parade must cover its own expenses—equipment, travel, food, lodging, and incidentals. Puerto Rico is slowly recovering, but not sufficiently for Banda Escolar De Guayanilla to raise the necessary funds to make it to Pasadena. Many of the kids families lost their homes or work, and money is in short supply. The organization has turned to Go Fund Me to raise support.
The goal is $190,000—yes, that’s how much it costs to get a marching unit here—but as of this writing, has only raised $760. This is the first time your Rose Examiner has ever asked for readers to give to a cause. Please consider giving to this one. Share the link with others who might be willing to give, post it on Facebook or Twitter or other social media.
The 375-member Los Angeles Unified School District All District High School Honor Band made its 46th appearance in the 129th Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1, 2018.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
I will state my bias right up front. I am and always will be an Angeleno. I’ve lived in the Pasadena area for the past few decades, but my hometown is one of the many communities in the megalopolis that is LA. Thus, there is a bit of pride in seeing the longest-standing city entry—it goes back 120 years—rolling down the Tournament of Roses Parade route. The 2018 float was part of a cluster of entries representing Los Angeles. The theme of the 129th Tournament of Roses Parade was “Making a Difference.”
Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Band, based in Long Beach, represents the Greater Los Angeles area. The Salvation Army Church serves in 128 countries. The band invites guest Salvation Army bands from around the world to join them at the Rose Parade; this year, it was a band from Angola, dressed in traditional regalia. This marked the SA band’s 99th consecutive year in the Rose Parade. Kevin Larsson directs the LA band.
Los Angeles Police Department Metropolitan Division Mounted Platoon is committed to children in the Los Angeles area. Members volunteer time with kids in Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and with those who have lost parents in the line of duty. Some of these youngsters walked behind. The unit was joined by an LAPD Honor Guard and the LA Police Emerald Society Bagpipe & Drum Band. This was Chief Charlie Beck’s final Rose Parade appearance. He retired from the LAPD in June, 2018.
The Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board sponsors float for the City of Los Angeles. “Everyone Is Welcome,” designed by Mike Abboud for Fiesta Parade Floats, expresses the city’s love for and nurturing of one of the most diverse populations in the world. LA welcomes people of every race, culture, and gender identity, who fill the air with hundreds of different languages and the scents of scores of different cuisines in neighborhoods throughout the city. At least 224 different languages are spoken by people from 140 countries.
Architecture ranges from the quirky lighted pylons at Los Angeles International Airport to the grandeur of the iconic Griffith Park Observatory, which the director calls “LA’s hood ornament” for its perch on Mt. Hollywood. Behind on the float is the Hollywood sign on Mt. Lee, with waving searchlights beckoning people to the city. Annually, LA hosts 47 million people. For flowering and riders, read the captions on the photos.
Los Angeles Unified School District All District High School Honor Band, directed by Tony White, represents the second largest school district in the county. The band was marking its 46th consecutive year in the Rose Parade. LAUSD educates children in neighboring cities, as well as in the City of LA, and the 375 members are drawn from all over the district. The unit reflects the great diversity of the area, both ethnically and economically. The students put in some 400 extra practice hours to be ready for the parade.
The band has five drum majors, 271 brass, 60 percussion, 14 banner carriers, and 30 color guard. Woodwind players in the district can try out for the Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band. Assistant Directors and Unit Leaders are Art Duardo, Darnella Davidson, Veronica Gonzalez, Ariel Legaspi, Victoria Lopez, Ramon Mendez, Erick Quintanilla, and Marc Manriquez. Assistants and volunteers are Bladimir Castro, Scott Martin, Danny Barcenas, David Profeta, Kevin Cisneros, Kyle Kawahara, Luis Sanchez, Allan Valladares, Davier Arroyo, Grover Castro. Dose Gamboa, Doselyn Gonzalez, Christian Melgoza, Dose Nava, Amir Parvinian, Miguel Velasquez, and Ernie Sandoval.
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The Rose Parade is an opportunity for rivals on the Rose Bowl field to have a little cheer and marching rivalry in front of the 80 million people watching on the route or on video who won’t be at the Granddaddy of Them All. The band are loud and the cheerleaders extra enthusiastic as they pass grandstands full of fans from their universities. In between the two schools are the 2017 Rose Bowl Hall of Fame inductees, representing football greats of the past.
The 104th Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2018 was a hard-fought match between the Georgia Bulldogs and Oklahoma Sooners. Georgia pulled out a 54-48 victory in double overtime. The game was the College Football Playoff semifinal.
The Rose Bowl Hall of Fame pays tribute to athletes and coaches, and an occasional person of special significance, who have made outstanding contributions to the history and excitement of the game. This year’s inductees were Mack Brown (coach, University of Texas), Cade McNown (UCLA), Charles Woodson (Michigan), and Dr. Charles West (Washington & Jefferson). For more about them, read “Rose Bowl Hall of Fame 2017.” Inductees are honored with a plaque in the Court of Champions at the stadium.
The Tournament of Roses Parade steers clear of being a parade of personalities, but there are five VIP entries every year: Tournament president, Grand Marshal, Pasadena mayor, Rose Bowl Hall of Fame inductees, and of course, the Rose Queen and Royal Court. The gallery below includes the Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band and Herald Trumpets, because when it comes to Pasadena celebrities, they are right up there.
Today, center stage are Pres. Lance Tibbet, Rose Queen Isabella Marez and the Rose Princesses introduced by the Herald Trumpets, Mayor Terry Tornek, and the Tournament of Roses Honor Band. The information on each is in the captions with the photos. We’ve already written about Grand Marshal Gary Sinise in “Honoring vets in the 2018 Rose Parade” and will cover the sports aspect of the parade and more about the cars and flowering in upcoming pieces.
A bit about the band: It’s comprised of the PCC Lancer Band, plus 200 of the more than 500 high school music students who auditioned. Jack Taylor is the band director, Tad Carpenter is the percussion director, and Dr. James Arnwine, dean of the Performing Arts at PPC, served as the assistant band director.
All photos are copyrighted by LB Monteros. Contact for permissions.
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:
“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.
The Rose Parade is a grand and glorious pageant, viewed by an estimated 80 million people around the world. It’s also a small-town parade, with the Queen and Court chosen from local young women and six of the 45 or so floats self-built by local cities and a university. Most of the equestrian units come from the Southwest, but the bands come from all over the world.
There are days of events preceding and following the Rose Parade. Pre-parade float decorating and post-parade Showcase of Floats, Bandfest, and Equestfest add to the excitement of America’s New Year Celebration. While tickets can be purchased on site, it’s easy to buy them in advance from Sharp Seating Company. Tickets can be purchased online, over the phone at (626) 795-4171 and in person at 737 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena (enter in the rear parking lot off Meridith Ave.). Children ages five and under are free at all events except Equestfest VIP seating.
Decorating Places (pre-parade float viewing) presented by Giti Tires, Dec. 28-31, 2018, $15 Deco Week is second only the Rose Parade in the excitement it generates in Pasadena. Floats in the final stages of decoration are on view for visitors to see how thousands of volunteers hustle to get every last seed or flower on the floats in preparation for final judging. The ticket price depends on the day of attendance, and provides entry to all locations. Times vary by day and location; check the website for details.
Bandfest presented by Remo, $15 per performance, Dec. 29, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. and Dec. 30 at 9:30 a.m. & 2 p.m.
In addition to marching six miles in the Rose Parade, the bands put on field shows at Pasadena City College in the days before the parade. There are three shows with different bands performing at each; the schedule will be released later in the year. These shows often sell out before the event, so make sure to order tickets ahead of time. Each show requires separate admission.
Equestfest presented by Wells Fargo, Dec. 29, 2018 at noon (venue opens at 10 a.m.), $15
Horse lovers get the opportunity to see the equestrian units perform in the Los Angeles Equestrian Center arena before they ride in the Rose Parade. Trick riding and reenactments are part of the fun. Merchandise and food are on sale at the venue and the horses can be viewed in the warm-up ring and stables. Parking costs $10 (paid at the venue) and is on an unpaved field or across the street for overflow. Early arrival is recommended to ensure parking inside the venue.
Equestfest Limited VIP Reserved Seating Package, $40
Included in this package are a preferred reserved seat, early VIP entrance, an official souvenir seat cushion, a goody bag with other surprises. For this package, guests of all ages require a paid ticket
Post Parade: A Showcase of Floats sponsored by Miracle-Gro, Jan. 1, 2019 from 1-5 p.m. and Jan. 2, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., $15 See the floats in all their glory, but standing still! Ticket price includes Park-N-Ride shuttles from two locations in Pasadena. Senior citizens and the handicapped can enter as early as 7 a.m. on Jan. 2. White Suiters and builders are on hand to offer details about the floats and flowering, and the animation on the floats is often running. There are food and merchandise vendors onsite and free water from the City of Pasadena. Ticket booths will sell admission tickets at Park-N-Ride locations and at the venue on Sierra Madre Blvd. Sales end at 3 p.m.
Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Dec. 31, 2018, noon to 1:30 p.m., $40
Enjoy a luncheon with the inductees into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Class of 2018. It’s held at the Rose Bowl Stadium in the Lot K Tent
“The Melody of Life” is the theme for the 2019 Tournament of Roses. The central events, the 130th Rose Parade and 105th Rose Bowl Game, are held on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. Subscribe to “The Rose Examiner” to get news and articles throughout the year.
The 129th Tournament of Roses Parade opened with a rousing show that featured Broadway and YouTube star Todrick Hall, dancers, and the Riverside City College Marching Tigers Band and Color Guard. Playing off the theme poster for “Making A Difference,” the two-part set piece mimicked a cinder block wall with bright graffiti, and a garden of fanciful cutout animals. In the sky, there were birds, planes, and heroes and on the street were motorcycles and floats.
The Opening Show Presented by Honda has led off the Rose Parade since 2011. It’s definitely a made-for-TV production, because the full show is performed only in front of a small section of stands on Orange Grove Blvd. Television cameras capture the action from the street, cameras on booms, and the Goodyear blimp. Readers who missed it, can see it on KTLA.com, a bit over one minute in. We couldn’t get photos of Rose Queen Isabella Marez and Hall kicking off the festivities (they were on the off-camera side), but we got plenty of the show.
Check out the photo gallery below for the opening spectacle
The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber flyover is always a crowd-pleaser and is amazingly quiet until it is almost directly overhead. The plane carries a crew of two pilots and has a wingspan of 172 feet and weight of 175 tons. Its home base is Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.
The 2018 flyover added two F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters in a tribute organ donation. The F-35 to the left of the bomber represented giving life (organ donors) and to the right, receiving life (organ recipients). Organ donor USAF Maj. Benjamin “Chex” Meier piloted the plane on the left before he lost his life; it was flown by a close friend for the Rose Parade. Air Force officials joined with Major Meier’s family in a ceremony at Edwards AFB in California, where his squadron finished decorating a floragraph of the major for the Donate Life float. More about Maj. Chex Meier here and here.
American Honda “Power of Dreams Express” was spectacular and entertaining, with a dancing locomotive and three cars carrying musicians, Honda community volunteers, and representatives of charities that benefit children. The train was “crafted from enchanted musical instruments,” as the Honda media material read. Elements of brass, percussion, a calliope, and a piano created the joyful display. Fireworks shot from the horns, the cow catcher piano keys went up and down, the wheels turned, and the boiler on the locomotive rolled side to side and up and down. The clock on the front was set for the start time of the 2018 Rose Parade.
Riding in the center car were Honda Community Volunteers Cathy Hutchinson, Paul Mejia, Ruth Tsuji, and Nichole Whitley. In the caboose were Honda Philanthropy Partners were KTLA News anchor Frank Buckley and his son, Ben, representing Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; Landin Aguilar and Marissa Hernandez representing National Youth Project Using Minibikes; and brain cancer survivor Michael Gates and his mother, Colleen representing Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.
Honda floats are propelled by a specially configured hybrid, low-emission engine to help the float function more efficiently and reduce its carbon footprint, and Theme Banner float is powered by a low emission Honda hybrid engine. “Power of Dreams Express” was covered in more than 126,000 flowers, including hot pink and red carnations and roses, mums in a spectrum of colors, Amaranthus, and gladiolas. A large variety of dry materials were used to provide color and texture; tiny stars were yellow split peas applied one by one.
All photos copyright 2018, LB Monteros. Contact administrator for permissions.