Stanford Band’s hard work pays off at Rose Bowl

The Stanford Band practiced marching in preparation for the Rose Bowl parade. (Photo by Yanessa Lasley)

Members of the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band may have been among the hardest working university representatives during the recent Rose Bowl festivities.

Some 300 undergraduate and alumni members of the Band, in addition to the Tree and Dollies, jammed six performances—including the nearly three-hour Rose Bowl parade—into a four-day visit to support the Stanford football team and its fans in Pasadena.

The Band delayed its departure, choosing to stay on campus to support the men’s and women’s basketball teams during home games on Dec. 29. Members then hopped on a bus for an overnight trip to Los Angeles. Their first stop—bright and very early—was at Glendale Community College, where they committed 10 hours to practicing pregame and halftime shows, as well as—wait for it—marching.

President Hennessy and the Stanford Band.
President Hennessy greeted the Band at the pep rally.

For hours on end and despite intermittent rain, Band members practiced marching for the Rose Bowl parade on the Glendale Community College track. Especially daunting was planning for the abrupt corners featured in the 5.5-mile parade route. As a “scatter band,” the Stanford Band rarely marches, and generally never in formation. So to prepare, members packed two more marching rehearsals at downtown Los Angeles locations into their schedule.

The Band’s nonstop itinerary also included performances at a reception for football families, the Rose Bowl kickoff luncheon, the pep rally at LA Live and the pre-game Stanford Alumni Association tailgate. And just about everywhere they went, members were beseeched for photos. The schedule was so tight that a Los Angeles Police Department motorcycle escort was required at one point.

The Band’s pregame show was a playful take on mascots. Its halftime show, which drew a mixed response from the crowd, was an “Homage to Fromage” featuring bad cheese puns in honor of Wisconsin’s reputation as a cheese producer.

In the end, all the hard work paid off, according to RACHEL AUMANN, assistant dean for student life and Band adviser, even if the parade corners ended up more spirited than precise. Aumann credited the Band student leadership.

Band performing at the Rose Bowl
Stanford Band performing at the Rose Bowl

“They had to schedule practice for nearly 300 people to learn how to march in sync, all the while trying to meet the event requests of the tournament, the Athletic Department and the Alumni Association,” she said.

She added, “They managed to pull off all their events with seeming ease and got enough practice in to nail it on parade day. I am most proud that they were able to look good and sound great after all the hard work and despite little sleep. Their performances seemed a perfect balance between respect for the tournament traditions and rocking out as usual.”

Among the members of the Student Life office who accompanied the Band and cheerleading squad to the Rose Bowl were CHRIS GRIFFITH, dean of student life; RALPH CASTRO, associate dean of student affairs and director of the Office of Alcohol Policy and Education; and KEN HSU, assistant vice provost and director of the Graduate Life office.