Joyful Noise: A Rose-Bedecked Bandfest

Rose Parade bands give fans a special (and rousing) preview

The funny thing about a marching band, is, well, it tends to march.

There's no spoiler alert needed there; we've all been to a game or parade and seen the tubas and trumpets move by us, glinting in the sunlight. And then they're gone, off to delight the next group of people on the next block over.

But Bandfest, one of the annual pre-events of the Tournament of Roses, is all about putting the brakes on the musical offerings of the Rose Parade presented by Honda. Well, mostly. The bands of Bandfest do indeed move, but fans can take to the stands and enjoy a whole song without the orchestra and dancers marching away.

The 2012 dates are Saturday, Dec. 29 and Sunday, Dec. 30. Location? Robinson Stadium of Pasadena City College.

There are three programs in all over the two days, spotlighting the different groups selected to play in the 2013 Rose Parade. Among them? The Jaguar Marching Band of Jackson Memorial High School, Banda El Salvador, and the Roots of Music Marching Crusaders.

Tickets are $15; kids 5 and under will be admitted free.

Our two favorite things about Bandfest, beyond Bandfest itself? It always happens in a different year than the event it foreshadows (okay, it is a rather geeky fact, but we like it). And two? The bands who show up for the big event get to show off their skills twice; once at PCC and once at Colorado Boulevard. How often does that happen? 

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Answer: not much. Except here in dreams-come-true Southern California, of course.

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