Army keeps 88 year tradition
Tournament of Roses Band keeps tradition alive
by Robert Brennan –
What started out in 1890 as a quaint idea to cover some wagons with roses has grown into one of New Year’s Day’s biggest events, and one that attracts a large national audience. Now, hundreds of thousands of spectators line the sidewalks of Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, Calif., while many millions more watch on television as the Tournament of Roses Parade takes center stage every January 1.
The Tournament of Roses Parade, in its 119th incarnation, has established many a milestone, just as The Salvation Army Marching Band has. The band has performed in the parade in an unbroken string of participation that stretches all the way back to 1920.
Bill Flinn is a man used to wearing a lot of hats. As the chief operating officer of the Tournament of Roses, he kept busy insuring the parade would proceed like clockwork, which it did. But Flinn also serves as bandmaster for The Salvation Army’s Pasadena Tabernacle Band. This band, which was formed in 1893, just three years after that first Rose Parade, was the first to march in the parade back in 1920. Keeping the traditional fires burning once again, many members of today’s Pasadena Tabernacle Band marched in this year’s Rose Parade along with more than a hundred other Salvation Army band members from around Southern California and other parts of the country. Participating this year was the recently formed Western Territorial Youth Band.
The Southern California Divisional Commander reached another milestone during the parade. Lt. Colonel Paul Bollwahn, nearing his own retirement, marched alongside The Salvation Army Band, putting a capstone on his last Christmas season in an official capacity as an Army officer.