The musicianship and marching discipline necessary for a high school band to be chosen to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade is extraordinary. Two bands that exemplified that in the 2015 Rose Parade were Legacy High School “Lightning Marching Band” and O’Fallon Township High School “Marching Panthers.” For Legacy, this was the first Rose Parade appearance and for O’Fallon Township, the third. Both demonstrated excellence in music, marching and color guard work, as can be seen in the slideshow with this article.
Legacy High School
Director J. Clayton Stansberry had a goal to be part of the Rose Parade since he missed the opportunity to march with Coppell High School in 2001. He was the assistant director of that band, but had left to pursue a master’s degree. His dream was realized when he brought the Lightning Marching Band to the 126th Tournament of Roses. The Legacy band of 188 has almost tripled in size since he took over in 2004.
The school, founded in 2000, is located in Broomfield, Colo., an economically diverse suburb in northwest Denver. The Legacy Band is only the 10th high school band from Colorado to march in the Rose Parade and only the second to march in both Macy’s and the Tournament of Roses parades. The fast-paced unit has won many awards and appeared throughout the Colorado. Aaron Carpenter is the assistant director and there are three drum majors. The uniform is navy blue with a blue shirt front, navy blue shako, and gold and black trim.
O’Fallon Township High School
Located just seven miles west of Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, the high school has a high number of students from military families. The Marching Panthers chose the Air Force Song “Off We Go into the Wild Blue Yonder” as the primary parade march in honor of the men and women who serve. Forty percent of the 226-member unit are affiliated with the base and have moved around the country or overseas many times during their school years.
The band is directed by Dr. Melissa Gustafson-Hinds, assisted by Sean Harris with unit leaders Evan Hinds, John Langham, Brian O’Donnell, Connor Blankenship, Taran Holdener and Heather Sherman. The drum majors are Hannah DeBose, David Lewis, Natalee Barker and Lilly Schmidt. The Marching Panthers previously appeared in the 1988 and 1997 Rose Parades.
The uniform, an original design by Michael J. Cesario, are only a year old. It consists of dark blue pants and a tunic that fades from dark blue at the waist to white at the shoulders, trimmed in gold with gold buttons. Shakos are dark blue and white with blue plumes. The band has performed throughout the country, including appearances at Carnegie Hall.
For links to all articles about the 2015 Rose Parade winners, bookmark “A book with chapters: The 2015 Rose Parade in photos and words.” For the trophy winners, read “Rose Parade floats 2015: Who won in the 126th Tournament of Roses Parade.” Please post comments on Facebook at All Things Rose Parade.