PENNSBURY >> The Pennsbury High School Marching Band will trumpet in the New Year by marching in one of the premier parades in the world.
On January 1, everything will be coming up roses for “The Long Orange Line” as the band performs in the nationally-televised Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.
“The parade is a festival of flowers and music unequaled anywhere else in the world,” according to the parade’s website. “It’s America’s New Year Celebration, a greeting to the world on the first day of the year, and a salute to the community spirit and love of pageantry that have thrived in Pasadena for more than 100 years.”
This year’s 129th parade, sponsored by Honda, features some of the nation’s top marching bands, equestrian units and 39 spectacular floats decorated with flowers, petals and other natural materials.
Serving as this year’s Grand Marshal is actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise, who is most famously known for his portrayal of Lt. Dan Taylor in the landmark film Forrest Gump. Sinise will ride in the parade, which is themed “Making A Difference.”
About one million spectators typically line the 5 1⁄2 mile parade route, while tens of millions watch the television coverage in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. The Rose Parade will be broadcast on ABC, the Hallmark Channel, HGTV, KTLA (Tribune), NBC, RFD-TV and Univision.
According to Pennsbury Band director Frank Mazzeo, extensive hours of logistical work, musical rehearsals, development planning, fundraising and safety precautions have gone into the preparations for the trip.
”On December 19 we packed the equipment and the students were incrdeibly excited - lots of smiles and expectations,” he said.
Out of hundreds that applied, Pennsbury is one of 16 bands appearing in this year’s parade. The bands are selected based on musicianship, marching ability, uniqueness and entertainment value, said Mazzeo. Geographic diversity is also considered, he said.
In addition, bands from around the world are invited. This year’s international musicians hail from Japan, Australia, Panama and Canada.
Along the parade route, the Falcon band will be performing two patriotic Sousa Marches - “The Thunderer” and “El Capitan” - both originals by John Phillip Sousa. In addition, the band, unofficially known as “The Mickey Mouse Band” having traveled to and performed in all five Disney parks around the world, will be performing a Disney medley.
While in California, the Pennsbury Marching Band also will participate in the Tournament of Roses Bandfest at Pasadena City College where they will perform this year’s field show, “At the End of the Rainbow,” march in the Disneyland Parade and participate in an instrumental soundtrack session at the Disney Performing Arts Workshop.
In addition, the Pennsbury Concert Jazz Band will perform in a private concert at the Catalina Jazz Club with Tom Scott, a renowned composer, arranger, producer, musical director and saxophonist with three Grammys and 14 Grammy nominations.
“With this trip, as well as the recent trips to five continents in the past 10 years, my hope is that our students get a larger understanding of the world, our country, teamwork, excellence, cooperation and friendships that will last their entire lives,” said Mazzeo.
The community is invited to watch the band practice on Friday, December 22 beginning at 2:30 p.m. at Pennsbury High School East as it prepares for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“This is my 15th trip with Pennsbury Bands and all of the countless hours of extra work, time away from family during holidays, staying at the school until 2 a.m. (ugh) is worth it for the look of enjoyment on the kids faces when they have this opportunity,” said Mazzeo.