Annual Bands – Part 2

In addition to the Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Band, the Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band and the PCC Herald Trumpets – featured last month in Tournament Times – there are two more bands that are annually part of the Rose Parade.

Each New Year’s Day, the United States Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band members don their dress blue uniforms and march in perfect step down Colorado Boulevard. The band is made up of three Southern California Marine Bands and while those three bands individually perform over 300 times a year, the Rose Parade is the only event that brings them together as a single performance unit. Each member is fully combat-trained, and many have completed tours of duty in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.

United States Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band

Bandfest allows participating groups to incorporate elements that wouldn’t work at all during the parade, like the U.S. Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band’s recreation of the raising of the American flag at Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

The Los Angeles Unified School District All District High School Honor Band will make its 40th Rose Parade appearance on January 1, 2014. Band Director Anthony White, who marched in the band in 1985 as a student, leads the distinctive-sounding group, made up of only brass and percussion instruments accompanied by drum majors, flag bearers and banner carriers. Student musicians from all over the nation’s second-largest school district have to be recommended by their instructors; since the band’s inception, over 12,000 students have participated.

LAUSD All District High School Honor Band

The LAUSD All District High School Honor Band has only brass and percussion musicians.

In addition to pleasing the crowds lining the parade route, the Marine Corps and LAUSD bands perform at one of three Bandfest events each year. At Pasadena City College’s Robinson stadium, Bandfest gives these groups – and all of the year’s marching bands – the chance to show off additional field show skills and incorporate performance elements that would be difficult to showcase while keeping a steady 2.5-mile-per-hour pace. Of course, making that 105-degree turn from Orange Grove Boulevard onto Colorado Boulevard is no easy feat itself!

What is your favorite marching band memory, either from watching the Rose Parade or as a musician yourself?

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