NORFOLK, VA — Norfolk State University Spartan Legion marching band will participate in the 134th Rose Parade on January 2, 2023, in Los Angeles.
“I don’t think anyone in the band realized to what extent this deal was; when Miss Amy and her husband, Tim, came, the energy started to shift,” Head Drum Major Jonathan Lee said. “Now they’re feeling how much of a big deal this is to our program.”
President of the Tournament of Roses Amy Wainscott visited NSU and presented Spartan Legion, Director of Bands William Beathea, and NSU President Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston with the official Tournament of Roses flag to kick off the Rose Parade festivities.
“I am so proud of these students, the work that they put in … the understanding that they have of the leadership of the band by Mr. Beathea and Dr. Sanders, and all of the ways that [the band] learned about what it takes to get to a point like this,” Dr. Adams-Gaston said. “It is so historic … now, people are understanding the excellence that comes from this university and the Spartan Legion band is leading the way.”
The Tournament of Roses produced America’s New Year Celebration, bringing the traditions of the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game to Pasadena and the world for nearly 130 years, according to the Tournament of Roses website.
“We have a music committee, within our organization who goes out, recruits and finds bands to the president for that upcoming year,” Wainscott said. “We’re looking for bands that are energetic, that are great musicians, that are great community members, and that are great humans. We are excited to have [Spartan Legion] here.”
Spartan Legion is also the first HBCU to participate in the Rose Parade and the first band to be accepted after the first application. The committee stated that Spartan Legion had the best application out of all of the bands, according to Beathea.
“For what the Rose Parade is looking for, I think we are kind of a perfect model for it,” Beathea said. “We have a unique band; when you see the gold helmets, the uniforms that we wear, our style of marching, and the big brass that’s clean, intricate and balanced, our whole style is a fusion between corp and show styles.”
Spartan Legion, representing the United States, will have the opportunity to march with other bands from different counties.
Beathea also hopes that with the Spartan Legion band attending the Rose Parade, more people will know about NSU as an institution and potentially apply to study at the HBCU.
“We’re going to put a lot of work in so that we look good, we sound good,” Beathea added. “It’s time to reap the harvest and rewards for the hard work we put in so it’s going to be great.”
Although the Spartan Legion was provided with $475,000 in funding to attend Los Angeles, Beathea said they still need more funds for travel, hotels, food, and charter buses since the band members will be there for five days.
For more information on how to donate, visit nsu.edu/roseparade and text RoadtoPasadena to 41444.