Army greets new millennium with witness to millions
These Soldiers finish what they started
by Robert Docter –
The Army of the West greeted the new millennium as 250 Salvationist musicians, timbrelists and flag bearers praised God and witnessed to the power of Christ’s love before a million Rose Parade spectators in Pasadena, Calif., on New Year’s Day. Television and radio broadcasts carried their musical testimonies around the world. Once again, Southern California Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Alfred R. Van Cleef led the Army’s marchers directly behind the band’s identification banner.
“It was absolutely exhilarating to march in front of The Salvation Army Southern California Divisional Tournament of Roses Band this year,” said Van Cleef. “The reaction of the crowd was extraordinary. We had individuals standing in the bleachers as soon as they heard The Salvation Army Band begin to play. People sang the songs, encouraged us, and if I heard people say, ‘Thank you, Salvation Army!’ once, I heard it over a thousand times.”
Southern California Divis-ional Bandmaster Chris Mallett organized and rehearsed the band, which was made up of Army musicians from the Southern California region, the New York Staff Band, and at least two selected participants from 30 Army divisions in the country. These two groups augmented the band with almost 100 additional participants. Mallett was assisted by Staff Bandmaster Ron Waiksnoris and Tustin Ranch Bandmaster Ed Freeman. Mall-ett’s wife, Fay, also played an important organizational role in assuring all elements of the band came together at appropriate times. It was the largest band to represent the Army in the parade in its 78-year history of Tournament of Roses Parade participation. Drum Major Bruce Freeman used his many years of experience to assure alignment of the group and determine the best moments for the band to launch into another musical item.
“It was a great parade,” said Mallett. “Certainly one of the finest in the 14 years that I have been involved.”
Mallett wrote a new march titled “Rose Parade 2000” especially for the event, which featured contemporary arrangements of the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers” and one of the country’s favorite anthems, “America the Beautiful.” The band rotated the playing of favorite hymns with traditional Army marches, each of which contained recognizable songs and hymns.
“What a great way to greet the new millennium!” Van Cleef said. “People were singing the Army songs, responding to the music, dedicated to the glory and honor of God and, by the end of the parade, even though feet were tired and bodies were feeling the effect of the 5.3 mile march, there was a sense of joy that could not be duplicated. God’s music was played, God was praised, and people responded.”
On December 31 the Southern California region sustained its first big rainstorm of the season, and overnight temperatures plummeted. New Year’s Day, however, dawned bright and dry as the participants began to assemble from different locations. It was reported that it was the coldest January 1 in the last decade. Many band members delighted in the brisk, sun-washed temperatures as ideal marching weather.
The tournament’s parade committee has determined that all bands form on Del Mar Street, which happens to be directly in front of the Adult Rehabilitation
Center. This unit hosts the band for its morning assembly and provides coffee and doughnuts as well as inside space for a last minute rehearsal of the new march, which had to be played from memory when the group marched past the television cameras.