The 130th annual parade is part of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses and the Rose Bowl college football game.
The band features performers from 16 to 21 years old and was formed in 1971 to serve as the Calgary Stampede’s musical ambassadors.
The group prepped for their fourth gig over the weekend at band camp in the Nutrien Western Event Centre. The ensemble has marched in the parade in 1997, 2003 and 2012.
Band members said they’re pumped to play their tunes down south.
“You get to hang out with 150 of your best friends,” said euphonium player Oliver Cook. “It’s a blast.”
“It’s a really great experience to meet all these different people and tour with all your different friends,” said colour guard Paige Abernathy.
With all the moving and shaking, the band focuses on the physical aspects of the parade while training. The Rose Parade route is about nine kilometres, so instructors try to replicate the conditions during rehearsal.
“Last Tuesday, we did a three-hour parade, so it’s almost like running a marathon in that you just exhaust yourself and, they’re playing music, marching around,” said band director Ryan Hancock.
The band will perform three times in California and more than 200 times during the rest of their season — with most performances happening during the Stampede.
– With files from Michael King