New year…old tradition

The Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Band marches on.

by Robert Brennan –

[Photo by Michael Williams]

The Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., is one of the U.S.’s hallmark holiday events. It takes more than 80,000 man-hours to pull off both the parade and the Rose Bowl football game that follows. In 1890, its inaugural year, 3,000 spectators were on hand, and of course there was no television coverage. This year, 2010, the parade included 41 floats, 22 marching bands and 23 equestrian units and a worldwide television audience in the hundreds of millions.

Ninety-one years ago, the ever-expanding Tournament of Roses Parade welcomed a new participant, The Salvation Army marching band. In 2010, Salvation Army band members from various parts of the country and Canada came together to march in the parade under the musical leadership of Kevin Larsson, Southern California divisional music director, who put his participation in perspective when he said, “What a thrill it has been to lead The Salvation Army band in this most prestigious event. As I prepare for my ninth year as bandmaster, it is still a privilege to be given this responsibility and the honor of proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ to millions in this unique way.” Southern California Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Victor Leslie once again marched behind The Salvation Army and wished a Happy New Year to one and all.

This year, the band was augmented by members of the Metropolitan Divisional Youth Band from Chicago in the Central Territory, led by Divisional Music Director Vernon Lawson. Earlier in the week the band performed at the Crystal Cathedral, The Salvation Army’s Pasadena Tabernacle, and the San Diego Holiday Parade on December 30. While preparing for the Tournament of Roses Parade, the band, which comprises 40 musicians from across the United States and Canada, enjoyed the hospitality of the Southern California Division’s camp cabins in Malibu Canyon.

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