It wouldn’t be a parade—even the Tournament of Roses Parade—if there weren’t marching bands. After all, it was the “76 Trombones” that changed River City from a sleepy little hamlet to a razzle-dazzle music-making town.
Bands are chosen from all over the world, but only four return every year: The Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band, which combines the PCC Lancer Band and top high school students from the area; the Los Angeles Unified School District Honor Band; the Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Band, along with their timbrel corps; and the U.S. Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band. The two universities playing in the Rose Bowl Game also send their bands.
The remaining 18 music groups, mostly from high schools in the U.S., have beaten out some 300 other units to win a spot in the Rose Parade. The audition process begins with sending recordings, videos and comments from competitions they have entered to the Tournament of Roses Music Committee. High school groups must show they have 150 or more members to participate.
The attached photo gallery shows band entries in the 2012 Rose Parade in parade order, with identifying captions.
Getting accepted in the parade is just the first hurdle. The bands must raise their own funds to make the trip to Pasadena, and then they have to arrange transportation, accommodations, and trips to local theme parks and (at least for the bands from the Midwest) a dip in the Pacific. Often, new uniforms and instruments are required as well.
Bands are chosen 14 months prior to the parade to allow plenty of time to rack up the money. There are the typical car washes and sales, but some schools raised money by raffling off a house or creating a corn maze using the Tournament of Roses logo. The TOR President visits each band to provide them a “celebrity” fundraising opportunity.
Rick Hamlin, in The Tournament of Roses: A 100-Year Celebration, tells the story of a once-in- the-history of the Rose Parade fundraiser. After the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in Washington in 1980, the Mead Senior High School Band from Spokane cleaned ashes off roofs to earn money for the trip to the 1981 parade.
Have you ever marched in a Rose Parade? Tell us about it in the comments!
Here are the band entries for the 2013 Rose Parade:
- Aguiluchos Marching Band
- All-Izumo Honor Green Band
- Banda El Salvador
- Bands of America Honor Band
- Davis High Marching Band
- East-West Fusion All-Star Band
- Jackson Memorial High School Jaguar Band
- Lafayette Band “Pride of the Bluegrass”
- Lassiter High School Marching Trojan Band
- Lincoln High School “Patriot” Marching Band
- Los Angeles Unified School District All District High School Honor Band
- Morgantown High School Red and Blue Marching Band
- Pasadena City College Herald Trumpets
- Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band
- PAVA World Korean Traditional Marching Band
- Pride of Broken Arrow
- Rose Bowl Game Participating University Band 1
- Rose Bowl Game Participating University Band 2
- Seminole High School Warhawk Marching Band
- Sioux Falls Lincoln “Patriot” Marching Band
- The BOSS (Bands Of Santiago Sharks)
- The Pride of the Dutchmen Marching Band
- The Roots of Music Marching Crusaders
- The Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Band
- U.S. Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band
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