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

Gerald Freeny, president of the 2019 Tournament of Roses, at Tournament House. Photo by LB Monteros

by Laura Berthold Monteros

With the Tournament of Roses looking to add more “entertainment value” over the past few years, Pres. Gerald Freeny’s theme for the 2019 Rose Parade, “The Melody of Life,” seems tailor made. But it means more to Freeny than just the excitement that The Forum float with Earth, Wind & Fire brought to the 2018 parade. We had the opportunity chat at Tournament House on Monday about the 130th Rose Parade and 105th Rose Bowl Game, which will be held on Jan. 1, 2019.

“Music is the universal language. It’s something that soothes us, calms us, heals us,” Freeny said. It brings families together and makes enemies into friends, breaks down barriers, breaks down walls, identifies things we have in common. Music brings back memories of special people and loved ones. When Earth, Wind & Fire performed, he said, “everyone was dancing. It brought joy to everyone.”

With music touching nearly everyone, the theme opens many possibilities for float design. “The Melody of Life” fits well with serious and humorous themes, and opens opportunities for performers in all genres of music. Freeny noted that a choir could be on board a float, and music could be gospel, jazz, contemporary, Motown. With the Los Angeles Philharmonic celebrating its 100th anniversary, it could even be classical.

When we asked who his favorite artists are, he had to think. He definitely favors jazz saxophone players though; he mentioned Kenny G, Grover Washington, Jr., Boney James, and Stanley Turrentine, with a nod to guitarist Wes Montgomery. Motown’s high on his list, with the Four Tops, Earth, Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, and Lionel Richie getting first mentions.

Life in song

Freeny’s alma mater, John Muir High School in Pasadena, had a reputation for music and sports at the time. He chose sports, but he noted that there was music on in the locker room. On Sunday, he was watching ESPN and noticed how many headsets the players had as they walked out to the field and back into the locker room.

“Music, as well as bringing people together, ties families together,” he said. On holidays when family Continue reading “Tournament of Roses Pres. Gerald Freeny sings ‘The Melody of Life’”

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

from reports

Gerald Freeny, President 2019 Tournament of Roses

The Tournament of Roses makes two big announcements at the board of directors meeting on the third Thursday of January: the name of the president for the upcoming Tournament of Roses and the theme he or she has chosen. The first isn’t a surprise, due to the organizational structure of the Tournament, but the second is always a pleasant revelation.

Gerald Freeny was elected President for the 2018-2019 Tournament of Roses year on Jan. 18. In addition to providing leadership for the 130th Rose Parade presented by Honda and the 105th Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual, there are certain perks that come with the position. The president chooses the theme, grand marshal, and gets to wear a snazzy red jacket for the rest of his life. The theme Freeny chose, “The Melody of Life,” is one that can be lighthearted or serious and that strikes a chord in every person.

The theme for the events to be held on Jan. 1, 2019, Freeny said, “celebrates music, the universal language. Music has the power to not only bring us together but take us back to memories and moments as nothing else can. Rhythm, melody, harmony and color all come together to create the soundtrack that defines our lives.”

2019 Tournament of Roses poster

Freeny has been a volunteer member of the Tournament of Roses Association since 1988 and has been involved in the community as president of the San Gabriel chapter of NOBLE (National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives), the Pasadena Police Foundation Board, Pasadena Police Citizens Academy, Pasadena Rose Bowl Aquatics Board, University Club, Pasadena YMCA board, Black Support Group at Cal State LA, Urban League Board of Governors, United Way Fundraising Committee, Toast Masters, and the Pasadena NAACP. He has served on the Advisory Board of the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation since 2016, and is also a member of Legacy’s Museum Committee.

Freeny attended Pasadena Christian School and John Muir High School (Class of 1978) in Pasadena, and received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance from California State University, Los Angeles. Freeny is a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi and Gamma Zeta Boulé of Sigma Pi Phi fraternities, and Historic First Lutheran Church. He lives in Altadena with his wife, Trina, and their daughter, Erica.

We will have a conversation with Mr. Freeny early next week, and will post it on this website.

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

2018 Tournament of Roses President Lance Tibbet in the living room of Tournament House.
2018 Tournament of Roses President Lance Tibbet in the living room of Tournament House.

by Laura Berthold Monteros

“This theme is something near and dear to my heart,” incoming Tournament of Roses President Lance M. Tibbet told The Rose Examiner on Wednesday. We met at Tournament House for a conversation about the vision he has for his 2017-2018 tenure as the leader of the 129th New Year’s celebration. The theme, “Making a Difference,” reflects Tibbet’s optimism and commitment to kindness and selfless service, about doing something without reservation simply because it is the right thing to do.

Selecting a theme is usually a family process, and it expresses something about the president’s world view.  “Making a Difference” evolved out of a Tibbet family tradition, watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” together every Christmas season. The movie reveals how the thoughtfulness and kindness of one person can change his community for the better. Tibbet said the title wasn’t going to work for the Rose Parade theme though, because “everyone doesn’t have a wonderful life.” But “Each one of us, without cost, can make a difference. We all have that ability.”

That’s what the Tournament of Roses is about, 935 people Continue reading “Tournament of Roses Pres. Lance Tibbet is aiming on ‘Making a Difference’ in 2018”