Annual Rose Parade Bandfest sounds off in Pasadena

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With the heralding of trumpets Friday afternoon, the Tournament of Roses Honor Band stepped off for the beginning of this year's Bandfest.

Marching bands from Sweden to Texas to Japan will take the field to show off the songs they'll be playing during that long stroll down Colorado Boulevard for Monday's Rose Parade.

The honor band calls Pasadena City College home and tuba player Arturo Omar Morales says their preparations have taken a decidedly local spin.

"This past week or two we've been rehearsing at Dodger Stadium in the parking lots, just marching laps around. Like every map is a mile and a half," Morales said. "And preparation for that is very tiring but it's very worth it. You would think you would get tired but the crowd in the Rose Parade gives you such an adrenaline rush that, at the end, you feel you could do it six more times."

Morales, a freshman at Pasadena City College, is participating in the Rose Parade for his second year.

Honor band drum major Esteban De Leon, a history major at the college, is leading the band through the parade route for the second year. City college students and area high school students who auditioned for spots make up the 235-member marching band.

The butterflies disappear as he leads the band along the five-and-a-half mile parade route, he said.

"By the time you get into the chute and get ready to make that turn onto Orange Grove, there's not time to be nervous," De Leon said. "You have to trust that the people behind you are going to do what they know how to do."

The Bandfest continues Saturday morning and into the evening at Pasadena City College.

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