With just a few rehearsals left before their Jan. 1 performance in the Tournament of Roses Parade, the 360 students knew they had to get everything just right. After all, the annual event draws some 1 million spectators along the Pasadena parade route, and 85 million more who will watch on televisions around the world.
Click here to watch a video of the band’s rehearsal.
This will be the 44th consecutive year that the Honor Band has performed in the Rose Parade. For the last 30 years, it has been directed by Beyond the Bell coordinator Tony White and Art Duardo, the now-retired principal of El Sereno Middle School and a stalwart volunteer for the group.
“You are the best of the LAUSD,” White told the musicians. “Remember, you bring honor to the Honor Band.”
After auditioning in the fall, the students have been giving up their Saturdays to practice the music and memorize the choreography. Now, marching up and down the asphalt hills of Chavez Ravine, they are training for the 5-1/2-mile trek down Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard. The L.A. Unified group will be one of 20 marching bands in the parade and 56th in the lineup on 92 entries.
The kids will also perform during Bandfest, which features the Rose Parade ensembles performing their field shows. The L.A. Unified band will perform during the session that starts at 2 p.m. Dec. 30 at Pasadena City College Stadium, 1570 E. Colorado Blvd. Tickets are $15, free for children under 5.
During a break in this week’s rehearsal, the kids got a pep talk from school board President Steve Zimmer.
“You play a very important role in making sure that you are delivering, and that this parade delivers, an inspiration to kids who may be having some trouble, to kids who may be experiencing some pain,” he told them.