Category Archives: Rose Parade

Comparing Television Coverage of SK Band in Rose Parade

I got an e-mail (below) from former Kitsap Sun reporter and Road Warrior blogger Travis Baker, on television coverage of the South Kitsap High School Marching Band in the Rose Parade New Year’s Day in Pasadena. It seems the amount of air time they got varied quite a bit from station to station.

I’d love to hear from other readers about what they saw on different channels.

I do know South Kitsap’s band got a pretty good spot on KTLA, one of the major networks in Los Angeles. Meegan and I were eating lunch in a restaurant after the parade, and I happened to catch the segment on the SK Band, broadcast obviously not in real time. They had about two to three minutes of video of the band from various angles, various sections, with brief but glowing commentary. They noted it was South Kitsap’s first trip to the Rose Parade. The announcer talked about their connection to the Beatles (the band’s performance of a Beatles medley, including “Magical Mystery Tour” was part of a CD from The Rock Wood Fired Pizza/KZOK Battles of the Bands II in 2009), and she said, “We love this band.”

Here’s what Travis had to say:
“I don’t know if the following would be the source of a follow-up story, and I’m not even sure I’m correct, as I was recording both the ABC and NBC Rose Parade telecast, and jumping back and forth between them live, then went to Hallmark at 10 p.m. after the first two terminated the parade telecast to shown football and hockey.
Hallmark’s telecast was the same one shown live on Travel at 8 a.m. Hallmark was the best bet, as it went to a rather long run of commercials whenever a band appeared, then picked it up where they left off after the commercials, so no part of the parade was missed.
SK’s Band got good exposure on Hallmark. I don’t know whether Travel was able to do the same thing, but I don’t see how it could. Live coverage required skipping whatever parade entrant went by during commercials.
Anyway, the SK band got about the same brief exposure as all the bands on NBC. But it appeared to me that ABC stiffed SK entirely by going to a commercial when they were passing by.
If I’m right, anyone relying on just ABC to see the SK band would have been disappointed. ABC’s telecast was superior to NBC’s in other regards, as it profiled a lot of the floats rather than just talking about them as they passed.
Unfortunately, I deleted the ABC recording before I checked.

The video on your Web site was terrific. Do you know if there was more than one shooter or did the only one race around to get the band from both sides?”

Travis, in answer to your question, the shooter was me, and yes, we did have to hoof it from our place in the media grandstand at the beginning of the parade to catch up with the band at the end. We walked the side streets, glancing over nervously from time to time, wondering if the band was ahead of us or behind us. At one point, I recognized a couple of the floats going by and realized we were ahead of South Kitsap. I also saw some people sitting on top of RVs to watch the parade. I asked one guy if I could climb up to film the band, but he turned me down. The second family I asked said “sure!” So I sat 14 feet high with their delightful grandkids (one of whom is featured in th video) and had a completely unobstructed view, no other videographers jostling my elbows. Meegan and I figured that, by the time we got from the start of the parade to the end, we had walked somewhere between 6 and 8 miles, including the mileage we put in maneuvering around the crowds.

Chris Henry, reporter

Rose Parade Videos

Here’s a video of the band posted on YouTube by Rachel Brown’s dad Shihan Brown (hope I have your first name correct). This one is cool because it shows an aerial view and their sharp corners.

Here’s the video posted with the Kitsap Sun’s coverage of Parade Day.And here’s one more from YouTube. The SKHS Band performs “You Give Love A Bad Name” by Bon Jovi. Video is for KZOK’s “School of the Rock Battle of the Bands 3.” Video made by SKHS Video Production.

Of Horse Poop and Brass Spit

From the past two posts and a couple of phone calls I’ve had with blogger/band groupie Kathryn Simpson, it’s apparent the band is burning the candle at both ends. Glad to hear they’re hanging in there and sounding brassy as ever.

Speaking of brass, anyone who’s ever played a brass instrument knows that the process generates a considerable amount of spit. Before the band left for L.A., I was chatting with drum major Paulla Santos, and I asked her what brass players will do about that during the parade. I know from watching my husband play French horn that occasionally, when there’s a break in the music, he pulls one of the little valve thingys off and dumps the built up saliva out of the horn. But you can’t very well do that while marching along. It just wouldn’t look dignified.

Paulla told me that marching band instruments have spit valves for on-the-go dumping. The player just flips the valve and out it goes. Which got me thinking, there are 23 bands in the parade, most with 200+ members. Granted not all are brass players but, still there’s got to be hundreds of little showers of spit raining down on the streets of Pasadena every few minutes.

I asked my husband to estimate how much spit he thought would be generated in over the four hours of the parade. He guessed 10 gallons. I wonder if the Tournament of Roses folks have that statistic handy anywhere.

Oh, well, I’ve obviously had way too much time to think about this parade.

Speaking of which, Paulla and I also discussed horse poop. The band leaders got a Power Point from the Tournament of Roses folks detailing protocol for all sorts of situations. The Rose Parade, unlike other parades, doesn’t include stops (handy for scooping up horse poop). Things just keep moving along without a lot of opportunity to scoop, so if said poop falls in an inconvenient place, bands just have to power on through it. I’m sure, if that does happen, they’ll handle it with grace.

Chris Henry, reporter

P.S. Kitsap Sun photographer Meegan Reid and I are at the airport ready to fly to L.A. and meet up with the band this afternoon in Santa Monica.

Of Floats, Flowers and Snowboarding Bulldogs.

Before they march in the Rose Parade, South Kitsap High School Marching Band members will get a behind-the-scenes look at how the elaborate floats for the parade are constructed.

Among this year’s entries is a contender for the world’s longest float, featuring five snowboarding bulldogs, the entry representing Natural Balance Pet Foods. The Guinness World Records folk will be there today to certify, according to Daniel Bernstein of Bernstein Entertainment, which designed the float. Check it out.

KTLA 5 Morning News Interviews – Natural Balance Part 2 from Natural Balance on Vimeo.

Rose Parade float building began simply enough. Throw a few flowers on some horse drawn carriages (or what have you) and call it good.

An Early Rose Parade Entry
An Early Rose Parade Entry

The flower theme has persisted over the years as the float have gotten more complicated, with computerized movement and other fancy twists.

The Road to Freedom Float, 2001
The Road to Freedom Float, 2001

Float building today is a multi-million dollar business. The Tournament of Roses has high standards for acceptance of entries. Applications for floats are accepted usually more than a year in advance, and float construction begins shortly after the previous year’s parade ends.

Family Road Trip
Family Road Trip

According to the Tournament of Roses Web site, “The process starts with a specially-built chassis, upon which is built a framework of steel and chicken wire. In a process called ‘cocooning,’ the frame is sprayed with a polyvinyl material, which is then painted in the colors of the flowers to be applied later. Every inch of every float must be covered with flowers or other natural materials, such as leaves, seeds or bark. Volunteer workers swarm over the floats in the days after Christmas, their hands and clothes covered with glue and petals. The most delicate flowers are placed in individual vials of water, which are set into the float one by one.”

Springtime Treasures
Springtime Treasures

Computerized animation has had an enormous impact on Rose Parade floats. Recent Parade floats have featured King Kong stomping through a floral jungle, a guitar-playing dinosaur, pigs dancing the hula and a 60-foot-tall talking robot, all controlled by computers.
Hats Off in Celebration
Hats Off in Celebration

But through all the changes, the Rose Parade has remained true to its floral beginnings, and each float is decorated with more flowers than the average florist will use in five years.

Chris Henry, South Kitsap Reporter

12 hours

Our last football game.

I can’t believe that in only 12 hours the South Kitsap High School Marching Band is going to be on a few buses heading toward Sea-Tac, and then on down to California. This has been an amazing ride South Kitsap! Now we get to actually live the dream that we all have been dreaming for the past two years. Congradulations to everyone who has stuck with us this whole time. 

Megan Sanger ~ Mellophone Section Leader

A Very Busy Week Ahead

SKHS Band accepting the Tournament of Roses Flag on June 11, 2009.
SKHS Band accepting the Tournament of Roses Flag on June 11, 2009.

Though they were notified a few months before that they were invited, the official invitation to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade  is the Tournament of Roses flag.  It was officially presented to the SKHS Marching Band on June 11, 2009, at Joe Knowles Stadium, by Sally Bixby, from Tournament of Roses Executive Committee (see picture at left).

That was six months ago.  Now, in less than a week, the SKHS Marching Band will represent South Kitsap in front of hundreds of thousands in person and millions on national TV.  There is no group better prepared to represent their community!  Let’s hear it for the band!!  

In addition to performing on January 1st in the Rose Bowl Parade, the SKHS Marching Band will also be performing at Disneyland (on Tuesday, December 29th),  and participating in BandFest at the Rose Bowl Stadium (on Wednesday, December 30th) .  They have a few additional fun, exciting, and educational activities  during the week too.  Not to mention daily practice sessions.  They will be quite busy all week long.

As ‘band groupies’ for the week,  we hope you enjoy the pictures, videos, and comments as the Tournament of Roses week marches on for the SKHS Marching Band.

Special shout-out and thank you to Mr. Grams, the SKHS Band Boosters, and most especially, every parent of the band members.   As they play their hearts out and march 5.5 miles on January 1st, they have you to thank for believing in them, supporting them, and teaching them to give it their best step forward each and every day!

-Kathryn Simpson

South Kitsap Band’s March to the Roses, The Video That Started it All

Posted on YouTube; Credit: South Kitsap High School Video Productions

Here they are doing Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name” at the Peninsula Classic Competition, 2009. They’ll be playing this tune in the Rose Parade. The second song is “Dead or Alive,” which they will play at Bandfest Dec. 30 at Pasadena City College, featuring field show performances by all the Rose Parade bands. Check out how they lean back on the chorus.

And in case you missed it, here’s the Kitsap Sun’s video on how the band got ready for the challenge of the Rose Parade.Chris Henry, Kitsap Sun Reporter

Kitsap Sun Editor Recalls Her Rose Parade March

One of the main reasons we, at the Kitsap Sun, took note early on of South Kitsap High School Marching Band’s March to the Rose Bowl Parade was that Local News Editor Kim Rubenstein is a Rose Parade alum.

“Do they know what they’re in for?” she said (or words to that effect).

Rubenstein marched in Pasadena in 1997 with the Madison High School from Madison, SD. She was the one who tipped me off to the fact that the parade, all 5 1/2 miles of it, is a physical and well as musical feat.

Kim is in, like, her early 30s — i.e. young to an Old Phart like me — and probably has changed little since she marched in the parade as a high school student. We tried to get her dad to send us a picture of her as an awkward teenager. He sent us a couple pictures of her band. There — you can see her. She is the one in the trumpet section wearing a white jacket, black pants and maroon hat.

Madison High School Band
Madison High School Band

Kim says:
“We left South Dakota and there was like 2 feet of snow. So the weather in sunny California seemed awesome (we were even swimming in the Pacific Ocean while the Californians were wearing parkas)..but it probably won’t seem as warm to the South Kitsap kids.”

South Dakota in Winter
South Dakota in Winter

My comment: among the many rules the SK band students have to follow, they aren’t allowed to swim in the ocean.

Rubenstein goes on:

“Eating was a HUGE production. We had to try to pack 200 band kids in one restaurant. Not sure how South Kitsap is handling it.”

My comment: The tour company is issuing vouchers or arranged for a large seating at various restaurants. Rubenstein, your group were the guinea pigs.

She continues:
“I know for a couple meals, they just passed out envelopes of cash so we could eat where we wanted without burdening one of the eating establishments.”

My comment: Or buy lottery tickets.

“On New Year’s Eve, we had a dance with all the kids and all of the families who came along. Not sure if SK is doing anything like that…”

My comment: They are, more on that later, but not on New Year’s. They’ll be in bed by 9:30 p.m. the night before the parade.

Rubenstein says:
“I remember being exhausted at the end of the parade. I played the trumpet (played first and as a result, had ALL the high notes) and I could not hold my arms up by the time we got to the end (and I considered myself in good shape!). — Me: She still is in good shape. — Can’t remember what we had to eat at the end of the parade route, but it was something loaded with carbs, and tasted soo good. — Me: SK Band will get In-N-Out Burger — I also remember being assailed by obnoxious football fans at various points of the parade — Me: the heathens — They expected us to play every moment of the five-mile route, and when we were stopping to take a rest and just marching through, they would all yell “PLAY SOMETHING!!!” I wanted to shoot them. — Me: Don’t blame you.

Good luck SK. Take it from a pro. If someone says, “Play something!” Yell back, “Play it yourself, suckers!”

Chris Henry, Kitsap Sun reporter

Background and Last Time Practicing Before We Leave

Marching as a family at the '09 Macy's Day Parade
Marching as a family at the '09 Macy's Day Parade

It’s hard to believe that today was the last time that we would practice marching the 5.5 miles..As this years Senior Drum Major, I have been there through it since the very beginning. I remember the first time we even heard of the idea of applying to the Tournament of Roses Parade. It is honestly very hard to believe that, that was 2 years ago. Going into this year during the summer, I had set my mind that this year will be better than any year we’ve ever had. With the help of my Jr. Drum Major James Damian, i believe we have accomplished that so far in the year. James, I would like to add, is like a brother to me. He is my right hand man and I can confidently say that he will do an amazing  job after I graduate. Mr. Grams has even told us that he has noticed how very close the band is this year and how more of a family we are. As a drum major, you have to put a lot of time and effort into everything you do for the better of the program. On an average band performance of any type, the drum majors do not leave till around 10 or 11 pm because we de-brief and discuss the day as a whole. We also make sure the bandroom is clean and that everything is put away correctly. As much work that is involved in being a drum major, I can easily say every single part of it is worth it. Seeing how our students have progressed from beginning marchers during band camp during the summer, to where they are now, is completely indescribable. Band students are usually known stereotypically as the “geeky” and “unpopular.” Yet, through my experiences from playing sports, I have never seen such a group work SO hard for so long. Marching is a very physical activity that does compare with other activities that I have been in like soccer, basketball, and fastpitch. Each activity takes hard work, dedication, and the ability to keep going, even when it seems like there’s no point. I don’t know if the band will ever know how much I trully do care about them and how I would not be the leader I am today without every single one of them, but I hope this blog will help them gain a little insight as well as you, the reader. Like the other band students, I hope to blog everyday from here on out till we return home on the 2nd. So now I’ll end all the background stuff and get right into today’s rehearsal. The practice started at 9 am and like all ways started with stretching, core, and breathing. Same as sports, we do need to stretch to prevent injuries. After the beginning routine, we all headed out with our instruments onto the track and from there began our 5.5 miles. Our main focus while marching is to be able to present ourselves confidently and proudly. This involves marching with our chins angled upwards, shoulders back, and our complete upper body elevated.  After we marched 4.5 miles, we decided to march out infront of our high  school on the road for a real parade experience.  When our marching rehearsal was done, we had every student make sure they had every part of their uniform and their instrument to load onto our truck that will be driving and transporting all the equipment to Pasadena. The day finally came to a close around 3pm. A lot accomplished in a 6 hour day.

Paulla Santos – Sr. Drum Major