Acrobats in gold spandex and sequins, exciting cornering, close-in flag work, and dancing musicians added entertainment value to the four 2014 Rose Parade marching bands profiled in this article. The excitement these groups create and the outstanding musicianship show that the many awards they have received are well-deserved.
They are Claudia Taylor “Lady Bird” Johnson High School Marching Band from San Antonio, Texas (which we will shorten to “C.T. Johnson” in further references), Nagoya Minami High School Green Band from Nagoya, Aichi, Japan, Dobyns-Bennett High School Marching Indian Band from Kingsport, Tenn., and Westfield High School Marching Bulldogs from Chantilly, Va.
Band aficionados can check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 4 in this column. The photo list attached to this article has more about each band, the uniforms, and interesting facts.
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New, exciting, and darn good
C.T. Johnson High School opened its doors in San Antonio, Texas in August of 2008 and it already marches an award-winning marching unit of 219 members. The group is under the direction of Jarrett Lipman and assistants Alan Sharps, Jordan Stern, Darryl Pemberton and Kris Hartman. Drum majors are Katarina Chavez, Collan Cardwell, Emily Salinas and Aaron Sanchez.
Award-winning color guard
In 2012, the C.T. Johnson band became one of the youngest state finalist bands in the University Interscholastic League Texas State Marching Contest. The flaggies march in front of the band, just behind the acrobats, instead of at the rear. Awards include Winter Guard International Scholastic Open Silver Medalist in 2013 and Texas Colorguard Circuit Scholastic Open Gold Medalist/Champion in 2013.
Adding gold-costumed élan to the unit, four acrobats with the C.T. Johnson High School band performed stunts that wowed parade-goers and the television audience at the 2014 Rose Parade. The band has established a reputation for quality, innovation and excitement, which is reflected in the joyous smiles of these young people.
Wondering what Columbia blue is? It’s the color of the front insert and tall plumes in the uniforms of the C.T. Johnson High School band. The main portion of the uniform is navy, with silver trim and baby blue shakos to represent the famous Texas Bluebonnet flowers. The five-year-old band “is humbled and honored to receive the opportunity to achieve another early first for the school in performing in the 125th Tournament of Roses Parade,” a press release stated.
Small but mighty
With only 127 members, the Nagoya Minami High School Green Band was one of the smallest bands to march in the 2014 Rose Parade, but it had the most exciting cornering on the 109-degree turn from Orange Grove to Colorado, as reported in “10 highlights and lowlights of the 125th Rose Parade.” Unlike most of the other bands, members were responsible for all their own expenses and did not hold the usual fundraisers. Drum majors are Hikari Iwata and Hirofumi Yokoyama.
Nagoya Minami had great fun with a Gangnam style dance show for the cameras, under the direction of Makoto Kato and assistant Hirofumi Yokoyama. The band marches in cobalt blue tunics with yellow and white and blue accents and Aussie hats. It has won Aichi Prefecture awards for Arts and Culture (2004), Education Committee Cultural Activity Award (2006 and 2007), Governor’s Award (2007), Super High School Cultural Activity Section (2008-2011) and the Tokai Band Contest Gold Medal (2013).
The Dobyns-Bennett High School Marching Indian Band of Kingsport, Tenn. marches 350 strong and has five drum majors, Lindsey Engle, Elaine Greenfield, Sofia Baker, Alden Mason and Hannah Grimes. The band has previously been in the Rose Parade in 2002 and 2007 and most recently performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2011 and the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Parade. Lafe Cook is the director and assistant directors are Ryan Gilbert, Tom Padgett and Ross Bader.
The Dobyns-Bennett band wears maroon cadet-style tunics with gray horizontal stripes and white shakos with towering plumes. In addition to performing in London, England Millennium Parade and several Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades, the unit has achieved Grand Champion in the Western Carolina University Tournament of Champions and Middle Tennessee State University Contest of Champions Grand and is a Tennessee State Marching Band Champion.
In an exciting show for the cameras, the Dobyns-Bennett band flaggies interspersed their ranks the ranks of the band and performed their twirls and tosses amid the musicians. Pompom girls danced at the front. Dobyns-Bennett Band has received superior ratings at every event attended for more than 15 years and in the past five years has won more than 200 first place awards at competitions all over the Southeast.
Westfield High School Marching Bulldogs
This 275-member unit from Chantilly, Va. mounted an excellent show for the cameras, forming an arc with that manifested the big sound. It is the largest band program in the state of Virginia. Since its beginning in 2000, it has been the Virginia International Music Festival Grand Champion nine times and the New York City Big Apple Music Festival Grand Champion. Leaders are director Stephen Panoff, assistant director Adam Ashforth, and drum majors Nick Falatko and Felix Park. The uniforms are black with gold accents.