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 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.
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.
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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.
The Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Band was joined by a band from Angola for the 2018 Rose Parade
by Laura Berthold Monteros
The Tournament of Roses today announced the 20 marching bands that will traverse the length of the Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2019. They will also perform at Bandfest, Dec. 29 and 30, 2018. In addition to these 20, the bands of the two universities that are chosen to participate in the 105th Rose Bowl Game will also march in the parade. The theme of the 130th Rose Parade is “The Melody of Life.” Of note for 2019 is Banda Escolar de Guayanilla Puerto Rico, which is overcoming odds to make it to Pasadena.
Four bands have a standing invitation to the Rose Parade: Los Angeles Unified School District All District High School Honor Band, Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Band, United States Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band, and of course, Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band. The adjunct PCC Herald Trumpets announce the Royal Court float.
The rest have to pass a rigorous audition process, which includes musicianship, musicianship, marching ability and entertainment or special interest value. Band representatives must submit detailed applications, which include photos, video footage and letters of recommendation. They also have to be able to raise all necessary funds for travel and accommodations. Bands can apply for the 2020 Rose Parade on the Tournament of Roses website.
Bandfest is an opportunity to see the elaborate field shows put on by the organizations. Tickets are available at Sharp Seating for $15 per performance. Children under age 5 are free. Other than the Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band, each unit performs in only one of the three shows. The order will be announced later in the year.
The marching bands performing in the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade are
Alabama State University Mighty Marching Hornets, Montgomery, Ala.
All-Izumo Honor Green Band, Izumo, Japan
Banda Escolar de Guayanilla Puerto Rico, Guayanilla, Puerto Rico
Banda Municipal de Acosta Acosta, San José, Costa Rica
The 130th Tournament of Roses Parade steps off on Jan. 1, 2019, but readers can start making plans now. It promises to be a delight to hear as well as see, with “The Melody of Life” as the parade theme. Pres. Gerald Freeny reminded us that “Music is the universal language. It’s something that soothes us, calms us, heals us.” It also gets folks dancing in the street.
Here’s the information you need to get a place in the grandstands so you can dance along, and a place in a lot for your car.
We’ll be posting information on all the Tournament of Roses events and how to do them between now and December. Subscribe to TheRoseExaminer by filling in the box in the upper left to get email notifications.
The official grandstand seating provider for the Rose Parade is Sharp Seating Company. Sharp sells tickets in person, over the phone at (626) 795-0896, via email, or online for the parade, parking, and other events. The sales office is located at 737 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; enter from the rear parking lot off Meridith Ave. Grandstand seats and parking are also available beginning in the summer at Pasadena Presbyterian Church, on the northwest corner of Colorado Blvd. and Madison Ave., (626) 793-2191, ext. 353.
Prices at Sharp Seating range from $55 to $100, depending on the location on the route. Seats on the north and west, or “off-camera,” sides of the route are generally less expensive. Sharp now
Portable restrooms for Sharp patrons are located behind the grandstands. Pasadena Presbyterian offers indoor restrooms and a continental breakfast included in the price.
Rose Parade programs can be ordered in advance from Sharp Seating, the Pasadena Museum of History gift shop and the Tournament of Roses, or purchased on parade day from Pasadena Presbyterian Church and vendors on the route. Various supermarkets and drugstores in the Pasadena and Altadena area also sell programs few weeks before the parade.
Both Sharp Seating and Pasadena Presbyterian Church sell reserved parking, as well as Easy Parking Service (626) 286-7576 and the City of Pasadena (626) 744-6470. Easy Parking Service provides free shuttles to the Rose Bowl from the parking lot. Overnight RV parking is also available. Closer to parade time, some merchants list reserved parking on Craigslist.
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.
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.
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.”
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.