Alumnus and Tournament of Roses president presents parade flag
By Jillian Beck | Cal State LA News Service
The lively sounds of the All City Honor Marching Band emanated across Cal State LA on Dec. 19 as the Los Angeles Unified School District students practiced for their big New Year’s Day performance.
The 370 students from all across Los Angeles who are part of the LAUSD Beyond the Bell All City Honor Marching Band spent the morning preparing for their appearance in the 130th Tournament of Roses Parade. It will be the band’s 47th appearance in the iconic parade.
Cal State LA Vice President for University Advancement Janet S. Dial welcomed the students, as well as LAUSD officials and Tournament of Roses President Gerald Freeny, a Cal State LA alumnus. They were at the university for a ceremony celebrating the band’s long history of performing in the Rose Parade. The theme of this year’s parade is “The Melody of Life.”
“It has been a real privilege and pleasure to have you on campus this week,” Dial said to the students. “We consider you all Cal State LA family now.”
Freeny, who graduated from Cal State LA’s College of Business and Economics, is the first African American president of the Tournament of Roses. He spoke of his time at the university and congratulated the students on their upcoming performance.
“My wife, Trina, and I are very proud to have you in the parade this year,” Freeny said. “Please have a great time as you march down the parade route.”
Freeny presented the flag the band will wave in the parade, carrying the colors, emblem and moniker of the Rose Parade, “America’s New Year Celebration,” to head band director Anthony White. The band, referred to widely as All City, is administered by the LAUSD Beyond the Bell after-school program.
“We are celebrating our 47th consecutive year of marching in the Tournament of Roses Parade,” White said. “This is a labor of love.” He thanked Cal State LA for providing the band with practice space for the second year in a row.
“Cal State LA is proud to collaborate with LAUSD to host these talented young musicians as part of our mission to serve and transform our communities,” said Jose A. Gomez, Cal State LA executive vice president and chief operating officer. “We wish All City the best of luck as they march along Colorado Boulevard on New Year’s Day.”
Beyond the Bell Senior Executive Director Alvaro Cortés praised the students for their hard work and dedication.
“We are so proud of you. You are an incredible group,” Cortés said. “On New Year’s Day you are going to be representing all over 500,000 students from all over Los Angeles Unified School District across the world.”
Among those at the ceremony were LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner, Local District South Superintendent Michael Romero and Hilda Maldonado, senior executive director of diversity, learning and instruction for LAUSD. Sharon Robinson, chief of staff for LAUSD board member George McKenna, and Patrice McKenzie, McKenna’s deputy chief of staff, also attended.
“You have found your voice in this, you are part of something much, much bigger than yourselves,” Beutner said. “We are so proud and you should be proud because you are the best of the best—this is your moment.”
Guests enjoyed preview performances of the songs that millions of viewers will hear the student band play as it travels the 5 ½-mile parade route in Pasadena on Jan. 1. As they performed songs from the past, such as “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and hits from today, like Ciara’s “Level Up,” drum majors marched in time and twirled their batons and dancers waved shiny red pom-poms.
The band closed with a rousing rendition of “Patriotic Salute,” holding up glittering shields to spell out their city and district: Los Angeles. They chanted in unison:
“Sound off. Who are we?”
“All City Band!”
“Sound off. Who are we?”
“We’re number one.”
Photos: Above, Members of the All City Honor Marching Band perform at Cal State LA. Middle, Cal State LA alumnus and Tournament of Roses President Gerald Freeny (left) and Cal State LA Vice President for University Advancement Janet S. Dial welcome students from the band to the university. Bottom, The All City Honor Marching Band performs. (Credit: J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)
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California State University, Los Angeles is the premier comprehensive public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Cal State LA is ranked number one in the United States for the upward mobility of its students. Cal State LA is dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good, offering nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education, and the humanities. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 28,000 students and has more than 245,000 distinguished alumni.
Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex and the TV, Film and Media Center. For more information, visit www.CalStateLA.edu.