WAIPOULI — On Saturday everything became official, said Joanne Parongao, music director for Waimea High School.
“Scott Jenkins, the president of the Tournament of Roses, is here to present the Rose flag,” Parongao said. “This is the confirmation we’ve been invited to participate in the 125th Rose Bowl Parade.”
John Riggle, the director of the All-Hawaii Marching Band, said Jenkins’ stop on Kauai at the Courtyard by Marriott at Coconut Beach was the first of several stops within the state.
The Kauai contingent of the All-Hawaii band has been working for several months, starting as far back as July when it unveiled its roster by participating in the Koloa Plantation Days parade.
“We’re thrilled to have Hawaii participate in the 125th Rose Bowl Parade,” Jenkins said. “The Hawaii band has a unique sound and represents 42 schools from around the state. It also brings its culture with its dancers.”
The Kauai contingent, representing all three public high schools, is under the direction of Catherine Paleka of Kapaa High School and Paronago of Waimea High School.
Sundays have been the normal practice days for the band that practices marching around the track at Vidinha Stadium.
“There have been more than 100 applications for the 12 spots allocated for high school bands,” said Jenkins, sporting the red coat badge of the Tournament of Roses presidency. “Each of the applications were scrutinized, and this year, Hawaii will be joined for the first time by a band from Panama, who will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal.”
Another first is an all-girls band from Nagoya, Japan, Jenkins said.
Jenkins said the Rose Bowl Parade covers 5.5 miles in temperatures which start out in the 40s and by the end of the parade, estimated to run about four hours, rise as high as the 70s.
He said there are about 800,000 spectators lining the course. There are eight broadcasts with about 350 million viewers from around the world watching the event.
“One of the things which motivate the students and bands is there is an In-N-Out Burger at the end of the parade route,” Jenkins said. “Everyone wants to be at the start of the lineup so they can get the burgers when they’re fresh.”
He added that in addition to the parade, the bands participate in the Bandfest ahead of the parade.
“But not to worry,” he said. “There are In-N-Out Burger there, too.”