Tournament of Roses president invites Rosemount High's marching band to the Rose Parade

  • Article by: ERIN ADLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 17, 2013 - 11:55 AM

Scott Jenkins, president of the Tournament of Roses, visited Minnesota last weekend to invite the Rosemount High School marching band to perform at the 2014 Rose Parade.

Wherever Tournament of Roses President Scott Jenkins shows up in his trademark red blazer, fanfare usually follows.

Last weekend Jenkins visited Minnesota to officially invite the Rosemount High School marching band to perform in the Rose Parade. The band will be the first from Minnesota in seven years to play in the parade, which will be on Jan. 1, 2014, in Pasadena, Calif.

As the representative of one of the nation’s biggest parades, Jenkins has the job of visiting the hometowns of the 12 high school bands selected to perform.

“It’s a lot of fun to learn about each of these communities, understanding how the high schools fit into the community, and getting to know the bands and their directors,” said Jenkins.

The weekend included a pep rally at the high school, a tour of Rosemount, a meeting with University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler and a visit to local nonprofit Feed My Starving Children.

On Saturday night at TCF Bank Stadium, Jenkins presented the Tournament of Roses flag to the 205-member band and officially invited them to perform.

Steve Olsen, band co-director, said the invitation is a huge honor.

“It’s the Super Bowl for marching bands,” Olsen said. “Only the best of the best get invited. It’s a big deal.”

About 100 bands apply to participate annually. The application process takes two years and involves submitting a written application, video performances and letters of recommendation, said Olsen.

Selection is based on “musical talent, showmanship, marching ability and other entertainment factors,” Jenkins said. The selection committee was impressed with the amount of experience Rosemount’s three band directors had, Jenkins said, and the awards the band has won recently.

The band has earned a national presence in the past five years, Olsen said, and won the state championship for seven consecutive years. They also do well at the “Bands of America” super regional championships.

Fundraising is key

While Jenkins was here, the goal was to not only show him Rosemount but Minnesota as well, said Stephanie Abraham, a parent who chaired the visit committee.

The visits have another purpose, too. “The real point in me coming to their community is to create greater awareness and publicity,” which can help schools that need fundraising assistance, Jenkins said.

The Pasadina trip will cost more than $1,500 per member, Olsen said, and he wants everyone to be able to go. He estimates that the fundraising is one-third complete.

Fundraising efforts have been underway since spring, when a “March-a-Thon” raised $20,000. Other projects are ongoing or planned for fall.

During Jenkins’ visit, Thomson Reuters, the employer of several students’ parents, gave the band $10,000.

Excellence pays off

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