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!

Rose Bowl Game 2019 tickets now on sale

copyright 2010 Ramona Monteros

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Tickets to the 105th Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual are now on sale to the public online through Ticketmaster and PrimeSport. “The Granddaddy of Them All” is held in the Rose Bowl Stadium on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019 at 1 p.m. The match-up this time around will be the traditional Pac-12 Conference vs. the Big Ten Conference.

Here’s what fans need to know:

  • The Rose Bowl Game is a contractual sell-out, meaning rival teams and dignitaries hold most of the tickets, so those set aside for the public are limited.
  • There is a limit of four tickets per person.
  • Individual ticket prices start at $160 plus Ticketmaster fees.
  • In addition to online sales, tickets can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 653-8000.
  • Prime Sport offers various VIP, hospitality, event, and travel packages.
  • Teams will be announced on ESPN on Sunday, Dec. 2.
  • More information on the game is at www.tournamentofroses.com.
  • Tickets for Pasadena residents usually go on sale the first weekend in December.

Watch this space for more information on how to get to the game and what to bring when we post “Insider’s Guide.”

Rose Bowl Hall of Fame 2018: George Halas, Randall McDaniel, Pop Warner and Vince Young

Stanford 1924: Claude E. Thornhill, Pop Warner, Andrew Kerr, Jim Lawson. Fair use.

from a Rose Bowl Game media release

The Tournament of Roses announced on Monday that Illinois graduate and Chicago Bears founder George Halas, former Arizona State and NFL offensive lineman Randall McDaniel, former Stanford head coach Pop Warner and former Texas and NFL quarterback Vince Young will be inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame as the Class of 2018.

The Rose Bowl Hall of Fame was established in 1989 to pay tribute to members of the Rose Bowl Game who have contributed to the history and excitement of the game, and those who embody the highest level of passion, strength, tradition and honor associated with The Granddaddy of Them All. Inductees are honored with a permanent plaque at The Court of Champions at the Rose Bowl Stadium, ride in the Rose Parade, and are recognized on the field during the Rose Bowl Game.

The induction ceremony will take place on Dec. 31, 2018, at the Lot K Tent outside of the Rose Bowl Stadium, one day prior to the 105th Rose Bowl Game. More information online. The 2019 game will return to the traditional format, with a team from the Big Ten meeting a team from the Pac-12 on Tuesday, Jan. 1.

George Halas was a three-sport athlete at the University of Illinois, but played in the 1919 Rose Bowl Game as a member of the Great Lakes Navy. Halas led the Navy to a 17-0 win over the Mare Island Marines and was named MVP of the game. He scored on a 32 yard touchdown reception and added an interception, which he returned for 77 yards – a record that still stands today as the longest non-scoring interception return. Following his time in the Navy, Halas founded the Chicago Staleys, who became the Chicago Bears in 1921. Halas was the player-coach of the Bears for 10 years and spent four stints as the team’s head coach, spanning nearly 50 years. The Bears won 324 games and six NFL titles under his tutelage, both of which stood as NFL records until broken in 1993.

Randall McDaniel has been considered by many to be the best pulling guard in NFL history and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009. Prior to his professional career, McDaniel led the Arizona State Sun Devils to a 1986 Pac-10 title. The 1987 Morris Trophy winner, given to the Pac-10 Offensive Lineman of the Year, was one of the best players on the Sun Devil team that went on to defeat the Michigan State Spartans in the Rose Bowl Game, 22-15. The two-time All-American was inducted into the ASU Hall of Fame in 1999, the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008, the State of Arizona Hall of Fame in 2011 and was named to the Pac-12 All-Century Team in 2015. Since retiring from professional football, McDaniel has been an elementary school teacher in Minnesota and has started, worked with, and funded numerous charitable and philanthropic efforts in Minnesota and Arizona.

Glenn Scobey “Pop” Warner is regarded as one of the most innovative and creative coaches in college football history. A coaching career that spanned nearly 45 years, Warner won a then-record 319 games and four national championships, the first three at the University of Pittsburgh and the final one at Stanford in 1926. The legendary coach made three appearances in the Rose Bowl Game and compiled a 1-1-1 record. The first time he brought a team to the Granddaddy of Them All, Warner’s Stanford team was defeated by Knute Rockne and the Four Horseman of Notre Dame, 27-10, on January 1, 1925. Two years later, Warner and Stanford returned to Pasadena for the 1927 Rose Bowl Game and tied Alabama, 7-7, with both schools named National Champions. Warner earned his first victory in a Rose Bowl Game in his third try, the following year in 1928, by defeating his former team, the Pitt Panthers, 7-6.

Vince Young is one of only four players to win Rose Bowl Player of the Game honors twice after leading the Texas Longhorns to back-to-back Rose Bowl Game victories in 2005 and 2006. Against Michigan in 2005, Young threw for 186 yards and a touchdown, while also adding 192 yards and four touchdowns on the ground in a 38-37 victory over the Wolverines.   The following year, in what is widely regarded as one of the greatest bowl games ever played, Young led the Longhorns to a 41-38 come-from-behind win over the USC Trojans in the BCS National Championship. In the victory, Young managed to outdo his numbers from the previous year as he completed 30-of-40 passes for 267 yards, rushed for 200 yards on 19 carries and scored three total touchdowns while rallying the Longhorns to victory, overcoming a 12-point deficit with less than seven minutes left in the game. Young set Rose Bowl Game records in the game for total yards (467), rushing yards by a quarterback (200), touchdowns (5) and points responsible for (30).

 

Rose Bowl Game teams and Hall of Fame in the 2018 Rose Parade: Photos

by Laura Berthold Monteros

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.

All photos are copyright 2018, LB Monteros

Tournament House open for public tours through August

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Tournament House/Wrigley Mansion front porch. Copyright LB Monteros

The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association invites the public into their home and headquarters for free tours from Feb. 1 through the end of August, 2018. The tours, led by white-suited docents, are given twice each Thursday at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. No reservations are required for individuals and small parties, but groups of 10 or more should call 626) 449-4100 for reservations. Before and after the tour, visitors are welcome to stroll in the gardens, which feature more than 1,500 varieties of roses, camellias and annuals.

Tournament House, also known as Wrigley Mansion, was once home to the Wrigley family of chewing gum fame. Ada Wrigley, the matriarch of the family, so enjoyed watching the Rose Parade from her upstairs window that she willed the mansion to the City of Pasadena for use by the Tournament of Roses. Since 1958, the house has been the nexus of operations for the Rose Parade, Rose Bowl Game, and a score of other events.

Tours start promptly, so it’s advised to arrive on the porch by the front door early.  The house is located at 391 S. Orange Grove Blvd., between Arbor and Lockehaven streets.  Street parking is available.

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 announces executive committee for 2018-2019

from reports

Terry Madigan

At the board of directors meeting on Jan. 18, newly-elected president of the Tournament of Roses Gerald Freeny announced the 2018-2019 Executive Committee which oversees the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2019. Newly elected to the committee is Terry Madigan, a sixth-generation Californian and volunteer member of the Tournament since 1993. He will serve as president of the TOR in 2026 for the 137th Rose Parade and 112th Rose Bowl Game.

Madigan was appointed a Tournament of Roses Chair in 2010 and a Director in 2013. He has served as Committee Chair for Host, Judging, Parade Operations, and Special Events; Vice Chair for Float Entries and Post Parade; and a committee member of Community Relations, Decorating Places, Equestrian, Formation, Parade Operations, Post Parade, and TV/Radio.

The Certified Personal Chef is owner of Just No Thyme, a personal chef service serving Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley. Before turning his passion for cooking into a full-time profession, he had a career in marketing and communications. He is a founding member and from 2012 to 2015, president of the Southern California Chapter of the United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA). He organized the USPCA’s 2014 National Conference in Long Beach, Calif.  He also served as President of the Business Network International (BNI) Rose Bowl Chapter.

Madigan grew up in the San Gabriel Valley. While attending South Pasadena High School, he drove the South Pasadena float in the Rose Parade, twice.  He was graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in political science and journalism from the University of Southern California and later from the California School of Culinary Arts with a Diplôme in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts. He resides in South Pasadena with his husband, Kevin Sommerfield.

In addition, the following officers were elected to serve with Madigan on the 14-member Executive Committee: Gerald Freeny, president; Laura Farber, executive vice president; Robert B. Miller, treasurer; Amy Wainscott, secretary. Lance Tibbet, president of the 2018 Tournament of Roses, serves as past president.

Re-elected to the Executive Committee as vice presidents are Alex Aghajanian, Ed Morales and Mark Leavens.  The five appointed at-large members are Zareh Baghdassarian, Teresa Chaure, James Jones, Janet Makonda and Herman Quispe. Freeny also announced the election of a new member to the Tournament of Roses board of directors, Ernesto Cardenas.