Marching bands spark the 128th Rose Parade

Twenty high school students from Japan’s Pacific coast, a region destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011, rode a float from the American Honda Company near the beginning of the 128th Tournament of Roses Parade this morning in Pasadena, California, symbolizing the strong ties between Japan and the US.

The US Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band, a military band made up of personnel from MCAS Miramar, MCRD San Diego, and Camp Pendleton, was the first marching unit down the street, shortly after the float from Honda. A military unit is historically the first marching band in the parade, and this year was no different.

Then other bands, selected by the Tournament of Roses based on a variety of criteria including musicianship, marching ability and entertainment or special interest value, followed them down the 5½-mile march in southern California. It’s been a long road to Pasadena for most of these bands, applications, photos, video footage, and letters of recommendation having been submitted more than a year ago.

Lithonia (Martin Luther King Jr), Ga.
Austin (Westlake), Texas
Indianapolis (Lawrence Township), Ind.
Xalapa (Tecnica Industrial #3), Veracruz, Mexico
Niceville, Fla.
Broken Arrow, Okla.
(Penn State University)
Pasadena City College Honor Band, Calif.
(University of Southern California)
Los Angeles (Salvation Army T.O.R. Band), Calif.
Arcadia, Calif.
Gifu (Gifu Shogyo), Japan (Green Band Association)
Henderson (Foothill), Nev.
Ooltewah, Tenn.
Pulaski, Wis.
Los Angeles (All-District Honor Band), Calif.
Bands of America Honor Band
Travis A.F.B. (US Air Force Total Force Band), Calif.
Grove City, Ohio
(Santa Clara Vanguard)

This story was updated after the parade to reflect the following change: The bands were moved around to reflect the order in which they appeared in the parade.

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Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.