One of the many responsibilities and privileges of the Tournament of Roses President is to personally invite and welcome each participating band to the upcoming Rose Parade. While some bands trips only require a short drive from Tournament House in Pasadena, others require international flights and translators.
Last week, following their band visit to Saratoga High School in California, Tournament of Roses 2016 President Mike Matthiessen and First Lady, Ann set off on an adventure to Guatemala to do just that. Check out Ann’s recollection of their Guatemalan adventure below–
“Our band trip to Guatemala to meet the Latin Band Pedro Molina was absolutely amazing! We were thrilled to have fellow Tournament member Ernie Cardenas and his wife Isabel along with us to help translate as the highlight of all of our band trips has been meeting the bands and getting to know the students and band directors.
Mike presented the Tournament of Roses’ flag to the band in the plaza in front of the National Palace, where many Guatemalan bands had gathered and performed throughout the day. Following the presentation, we toured the National Palace and then headed off to the band’s hometown of Coatepeque.
Mirroring the Rose Parade and its popular ancillary event, Bandfest, the city of Coatepeque hosted a festival which included a parade (that we all got to ride in!) and their own Bandfest, where Mike received the key to the city. (My favorite part of the parade was seeing all the students of Coatepeque lined up along the parade route in the school uniforms.)
We were kept very busy during our stay. Mike had many media interviews, including appearing on the morning talk show, Nuestro Mundo and meeting government officials, including the governor of Guatemala City.
On our final day, we had the privilege of touring the Mayan Ruins at Takalik Abaj Archaeological Park. The ruins are actually considered a “national park” and we had a fabulous tour with their “ranger.” We ended our visit with a lively game of miniature golf with the band directors, Edwin and Jimmy. As we drove back to Guatemala City, we were treated to the beautiful scenery of Guatemala which varies from tropical jungles, forests, and volcanoes. Our Guatemalan adventure was one that we will never forget!”
Mike and Ann’s band adventures will continue throughout the year as they travel around the world to meet each marching band participating in the 2016 Rose Parade. Who will they visit next? Stay tuned to find out!by