Walton High accepts invitation to march in 2015 Rose Parade in Pasadena
by Emily Boorstein
August 18, 2014 04:00 AM | 4795 views | 2 2 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Walton High School marching band drum majors and directors are all smiles after they received a flag designating their official invitation to march in the Jan. 1, 2015, Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. At far right is Rich Chinen, president of the Tournament of Roses Parade, who applauds after presenting the flag to the Marching Raider drum majors. At the ceremony, from left, are Mike Back, band director; drum majors Catherine Roddy, Rachel Cornell, Gina Kim and Elizabeth Frickey; and assistant band director Jeff Pollock.<br>Staff/Jeff Stanton
Walton High School marching band drum majors and directors are all smiles after they received a flag designating their official invitation to march in the Jan. 1, 2015, Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. At far right is Rich Chinen, president of the Tournament of Roses Parade, who applauds after presenting the flag to the Marching Raider drum majors. At the ceremony, from left, are Mike Back, band director; drum majors Catherine Roddy, Rachel Cornell, Gina Kim and Elizabeth Frickey; and assistant band director Jeff Pollock.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
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Left: Rich Chinen, right, president of the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., addresses Walton High School patrons as he prepares to award an invitation to the school’s marching band to perform on Jan. 1 at the annual New Year’s Day parade. Seated to Chinen’s right is his wife, Kim, who accompanied him on the three day stay in Marietta. Also seated is Walton principal Judy McNeill.<br>Staff/Jeff Stanton
Left: Rich Chinen, right, president of the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., addresses Walton High School patrons as he prepares to award an invitation to the school’s marching band to perform on Jan. 1 at the annual New Year’s Day parade. Seated to Chinen’s right is his wife, Kim, who accompanied him on the three day stay in Marietta. Also seated is Walton principal Judy McNeill.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
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Drum major Catherine Roddy, left, leads the Walton Marching Band during its feature numbers for a crowd of spectators on Saturday night at Raider Valley.<br>Staff/Jeff Stanton
Drum major Catherine Roddy, left, leads the Walton Marching Band during its feature numbers for a crowd of spectators on Saturday night at Raider Valley.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
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The Walton High School Marching Band performs Saturday night at Raider Valley.<br>Staff/Jeff Stanton
The Walton High School Marching Band performs Saturday night at Raider Valley.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
slideshow
MARIETTA — Walton High School’s Raider Valley had a pep rally atmosphere Saturday evening, but there wasn’t a single football player on the field. The night belonged to the marching band.

The 200-member Marching Raider Band will be participating in the 2015 Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on New Year’s Day. It is one of only 20 bands selected to perform in the parade, and will be the sole Georgia ensemble. To celebrate, the marching band performed part of its halftime show Saturday for parents, friends, the community and a couple of special guests — Rich Chinen, the president and chairman of the board for the Tournament of Roses, and his wife, Kim.

The Chinens were there to present the Walton band with its official invitation to march in the parade, an event Chinen said attracts more than 85 million viewers worldwide. That’s more than those who tune in for the football game, although, with 2015 marking the first college semifinal to be played at the Rose Bowl, Chinen told the crowd, “All you Georgia fans out there, you do have a shot!”

The Pasadena lawyer was a football player growing up, but said, “I’d trade in my helmet any day now for a couple of the dings and the concussions I had for a trumpet.”

Chinen said he’s been involved with the Tournament of Roses for 25 years and leads the organization from a business perspective. The Chinens voluntarily spend about a third of the year traveling the globe to visit the bands that will march in the parade to raise community support.

Getting Walton to the Rose Parade has been a lengthy process, and it is not cheap.

Booster Michele Reale said the weeklong trip will cost about $3,000 per student. The band has been working to raise money, including selling advertising space to local businesses and raffle tickets for a Holland America cruise, which was awarded Saturday night.

Band director Mike Back said Walton submitted its application to perform in May 2013, and it learned the next fall it was among the bands invited.

“As far as parades go, there’s no better than the Rose Parade,” Back said, calling it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for his students.

Fifteen-year-old sophomore William Frits, a trombone player, agreed.

“Finishing it is one of the coolest things you can do as kids,” because it’s so rare to be invited, he said.

He anticipates the morning before the parade, just before the band steps off, will be a memorable moment, and he believes the most intimidating part is the length of the parade route, which is 5½ miles.

William said the band is performing in several parades this year to prepare, and Back said he plans on building up members’ stamina through several circuits around the school’s track.

Trumpet player and sophomore Ben Reale, 15, thinks he’s up to the task, but he might take up running again to ensure he’s fit enough for the parade.

Ben said he’s looking forward to making the trip to California, especially for its weather. “It’s a lot nicer than it is here,” he said.

Before presenting the band with a parade banner and baton, Chinen explained the 2015 theme for the Rose Parade is “Inspiring Stories.” He turned to the band and said they were all inspiring, calling them the future leaders of Marietta.

Chinen said wherever he travels, he tells school board members, superintendents, administrators and politicians, “Don’t ever cut music education because, from what we’ve seen, the heart and soul of the community is right here in your marching band.”

Comments
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30066
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August 18, 2014
First, let me Congratulate Walton on being selected to go to the Rose Bowl. East Cobb has some excellent Bands, Lassiter, Pope, Sprayberry.

That said, as a past Band Parent, at another EC HS, let me add.

- The Band gets no Financial Help from the Rose Bowl

- Just flying to California is expensive.

- There will be lots of Fundraisers, not to mention the heavy tab that the parents will be asked to pay. For most Walton parents, this is not a big problem, but for some who struggled to buy a home in the Walton district, it will not be easy.

After seeing the cost of the Rose Bowl, frankly, I was much happier when our band went to the Orange, Citrus or Sugar Bowls, where a Bus Trip was adequate... at a drastic cost savings.

IMHO, the Rose Bowl has quite a deal, I would like to hold an event where the entertainment was free and even covered their own expenses.

That said, I will TiVo the Rose Bowl Parade to catch that fleeting glimpse of the Raider Band.

30062
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August 18, 2014
Add the Wheeler Wildcat Pride to the list of Excellent East Cobb Marching Bands.
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