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5 musical moments to watch (and listen for) at the Rose Parade – Pasadena Star News

Seems like each year, various folks (including yours truly, the humble hometown media outlet) compile lists of “things to watch for” to advance the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade.

And sure, there will be plenty to look at this year, too, with all that floral finery and equestrian majesty and Will Ferrell donning a skull cap again.

But this year, with the parade boss a musical icon — Grand Marshal Chaka Khan — and the tuneful “Melody of Life” theme, we figure it’s better to opt for “Five Moments to Listen for at the 2019 Rose Parade.” The march starts at 8 a.m. and airs on scores of TV and streaming services (check the full list here).

Listen up, y’all:

Chaka Khan is announced as the grand marshal of the Rose Parade at the Tournament of Roses headquarters in Pasadena on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. (Photo by Nick Agro, Contributing Photographer)

1. Tell Us Something Good

Early Tuesday, 10-time Grammy winner Khan will make a little rose-sto-ry, becoming what is believed to be the Pasadena florapalooza’s first grand marshal to perform at the parade.

At the parade’s 2019 Opening Spectacular, she’ll be joined by nephew Tyler McCrary and grandsons Jett and Josh Khan-Corley, because she’s a big wheel and chooses to work with people she likes.

Topping the crazy-huge production number, featuring a cast of 400-plus, is “Dancing with the Stars” Champion Jordan Fisher, who we hope will dance loud enough for you to hear him.

Also part of the big opener are an array of Southern California kids, from Fontana’s Kaiser Catamount Pride Band & Color Guard, the Boys of Temecula/Temecula Dance Company and Pasadena’s Wilson Middle School Drum Corps.

Kool & the Gang (Courtesy Marin County Fair)

2. Forecast: Kool morning

Attention, more Grammy winners: Kool & The Gang will perform atop the Stella Rosa float. And Los Angeles-based San Antonio Winery boasts that there will be 50 dancers on the float, too.

The float’s title: “Stellabrate Good Times,” a sorta Kool/Stella mashup pun.

3. Who’s best: East or West?

A Rose Parade tradition is the showdown between the marching bands of the Rose Bowl’s collegiate combatants.

This year’s battle of the bands features:

  • Washington’s Husky Marching Band. No, not that kind of husky — marching in a band keeps you trim. Their mascot is the sled-pulling, purple-Frisbee-catching pooch. Siberian huskies are friendly and intelligent and make great family pets, though we could find no record of any that could play a tuba or snare drum.
  • The Ohio State University Marching Band, from THE Ohio State University, bills itself as the Best Damn Band in the Land (TBDBITL). Their famed routine is the “script Ohio,” during which they spell out the name of the state, with a celebrity often serving as the “dot” on the “i.” Is OSU grad Dwight Yoakam available for dot duty?

4. Bittersweet tribute

The city of Torrance will roll out one of myriad musically themed floats, “The Power of Music,” inspired by a concept sketch from West Torrance High senior Justin Kim. It features a towering, whimsical treble clef performing on a giant, flowing piano keyboard.

KTLA anchor Chris Burrous died Dec. 27, 2018. (Photo via the KTLA Facebook page)

The float will also feature an impromptu tribute to KTLA-TV weekend anchor Chris Burrous, whose sudden death last week stunned KTLA news crew and viewers.

5. Last Dance

Anne-Marie Rose Nicholson — you likely know her as British pop star Anne-Marie, but we couldn’t help but slip in her perfectly perfect middle name — will headline the parade’s grand finale.

A-M has topped the UK singles chart multiple times, including as a guest performer on Clean Bandit’s “Rockabye”… which is where most of the parade participants will want to be after getting up before dawn.

“Where Flowers and Football Meet” is the theme of the finale, and we’ve been promised by parade publicists that a high-profile celebrity “will throw a football from the parade route that will magically soar to the Rose Bowl Stadium and be caught by another notable personality.”

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