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2020 Rose Parade Highlights

“On the Wings of Hope,” submitted by the City of Downey. – Photo by Galen Patterson / Beacon Media News

By Galen Patterson

2020’s Rose Parade greeted the U.S. at the dawn of a new decade on Jan. 1.

A stealth bomber flies over the parade route, marking the beginning of the parade. – Photo by Galen Patterson / Beacon Media News

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.

Ally Brooke, capturing the experience of being surrounded by nearly a million people. – Photo by Galen Patterson / Beacon Media News

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.

Honda’s “Our Hope for the Future.” – Photo by Galen Patterson / Beacon Media News

Following Brooke was Honda’s float contribution, depicting children excelling in all areas and one child literally reaching for a star.

Cal Poly Universities “Aquatic Aspirations.” – Photo by Galen Patterson / Beacon Media News

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.

“The Voyage of Hope – 1620,” created by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. – Photo by Galen Patterson / Beacon Media News

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.

“Years of Hope / Years of Courage,” created by Pasadena Celebrates 2020. The float won the Theme Award, features a crowd of women dressed as Suffragettes behind the float, and encapsulates the moment when women were given the right to vote in the U.S. – Photo by Galen Patterson / Beacon Media News

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.

The Green Band from Japan executing The Turn. – Photo by Galen Patterson / Beacon Media News

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.

A band marching in the formation of an anchor, followed by Lutheran Hour Ministries’ “Anchored in Jesus” float. – Photo by Galen Patterson / Beacon Media News

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 “Human Jukebox” Marching Band. One of the KTLA hosts of the live coverage of the parade admitted having “completely checked out when watching them.” – Photo by Galen Patterson

Southern University’s marching band was preceded by the interesting submission from Mini Therapy Horses of people walking mini horses and carrying keyboards.

Mini Therapy Horses from Calabasas, CA. – Photo by Galen Patterson / Beacon Media News

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.

January 2, 2020

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Galen Patterson


2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “2020 Rose Parade Highlights”

  1. Brian Queen says:

    The theme of the 2020 parade was “The Power of Hope”, not “Hope For The Future”.

  2. S. Slaboch says:

    Very nicely reviewed!

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