Salvation Army marches in its 90th Rose Parade
by Robert Brennan –
The 120th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena took place January 1, 2009 with more than half a million spectators lining the parade route and with an additional 40 million viewers watching on television across America. This staple of New Year’s Day included 46 floats, 22 marching bands, and 18 equestrian units. For the 90th year in a row, The Salvation Army was an integral part of the parade as a 180 member strong band, with international components, marched down Colorado Blvd.
Each year The Salvation Army calls on its reserves of musically gifted members to provide a marching band for the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day. January 1, 2009 proved no exception. Under the musical direction of Kevin Larsson, the band consisted of 43 Salvation Army band members from Cardiff Canton, Wales, in the United Kingdom, with the remainder of the marching band made up of Salvation Army band members from across the United States and Canada.
The Tournament of Roses Parade is a unique vehicle to fly The Salvation Army flag in front of millions of people, giving them another opportunity to become acquainted with an organization that is a vital part of the Southern California social service landscape.
Major Victor A. Leslie, Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army in Southern California, set the pace at the head of the band and helped parade watchers welcome 2009 in typical Salvation Army style.