By Galen Patterson
2020’s Rose Parade greeted the U.S. at the dawn of a new decade on Jan. 1.
The show began with the traditional stealth bomber flyover, where the military showcased it’s quiet technology even at low altitudes, which led immediately into a short performance by Ally Brooke.
Accompanied by many dancers and drummers, Brooke performed one song and climbed onto her nearby float where she made the turn onto Colorado Blvd. and down the parade route, initially recording the experience on her phone and eventually waving to the crowd.
The theme of 2020’s parade was Hope For The Future. All float designers bore this in mind while creating their works of art.
Following Brooke was Honda’s float contribution, depicting children excelling in all areas and one child literally reaching for a star.
Shortly after came a scaled-down version of the Mayflower, the famed and fabled ship that carried protestant immigrants to American shores in 1620. This year marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s arrival.
This float was submitted by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, whom members need to prove their family lineage as direct descendants of the Mayflower settlers. Despite flying a British flag, the float won the Americana Award.
The Rose Parade showcases some of the finest marching bands in the world. The more extreme-than 90 degree turn in front of all major news outlets on the corner of Orange Grove and Colorado Boulevard offers marching bands a chance at showing the world their maneuvering skill. The turn is generally not televised, but is an acute angle situated immediately before and after the camera positions.
The turn is an obstacle requiring precision, timing, and spacing to get right, something marching bands drill into their musicians.
While the musicians keep beat and spacing with their feet, control their breathing, move their hands and fingers to play the music and negotiate obstacles such as this acute right-turn, all under the scrutiny of the millions of people watching both in person and in camera. This can be a daunting task, but these bands were selected for a reason.
Two remarkable executions of the turn were the Green Band from Japan and the Wisconsin Badgers marching band.
Upon approaching the turn, the Green Band shrunk their ranks, huddled their musicians together in double-time and flawlessly ran around the corner and regained their spacing on the other side.
The Green Band is compiled of musicians from all across Japan, who never practiced together until their gathering in Anaheim shortly before Christmas in 2019. They were given almost a week to prepare.
The Badgers held their initial line, formed a wedge in the top of their line, which then slid across the line and completely reformed around the corner.
Among the other bands, Southern University’s marching band’s musical display was remarkable. Their drum line struck with such force and precision that it felt as though they could carry the song, instead of the melodic and harmonic instruments to their front. Their performance was somewhat mesmerizing as each musician flourished, rather than performed along the route.
Southern University’s marching band was preceded by the interesting submission from Mini Therapy Horses of people walking mini horses and carrying keyboards.
The parade featured an impromptu performance of a song from Disney’s “Frozen,” the hit Broadway musical, featuring the touring cast of the show.
A performance by Los Lobos finished this year’s Rose Parade in a shower of confetti.