Fontana Unified’s Kaiser High Makes Rose Parade Debut, Performs with Pop Legend Chaka Khan
FONTANA, CA – As the Kaiser High School Catamount Pride Band and Color Guard marched down Colorado Boulevard during their inaugural Tournament of Roses performance on New Year’s Day, they were cheered on by scores of supporters shouting, “Kaiser is Number One!”
Kaiser High hopes its appearance as the Premier Band in the 2019 parade – a historic first for the school and the district – marks the beginning of a long relationship with the organization.
“The first thing the Rose Parade music committee told us after we were selected was, ‘Welcome to the family, you are part of this family forever,’” Kaiser High band director Anthony Allmond said. “We can audition again, but now we have a track record. They know who we are. We are part of the family.”
The Tournament of Roses Parade appearance marks the culmination of more than a dozen years of submitting audition tapes to the music committee and developing a relationship with the committee’s music advisor.
As the Premier Band, the Catamount Pride Band and Color Guard performed in the opening ceremony with Grand Marshal Chaka Khan, then marched the 5.5-mile route as they performed “Theme from Rocky,” “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire and “Rhythm.”
For Kaiser High senior and cymbal player Gabriela Gutierrez, the thrill went beyond the chance to perform.
“I grew up always going to the Rose Parade, so this is something special to me and my family,” Gutierrez said. “I couldn’t believe that we were actually going to be in it.”
The 180-member band was augmented by 30 Kaiser alums who arranged their holiday schedules to attend rehearsals. In addition to performing in the Rose Parade, the band played during Bandfest on Dec. 30 at Pasadena City College with the 19 other marching bands featured in the parade.
Kaiser High’s Tournament of Roses Parade appearance was partially funded by a variety of community sponsors, including Kaiser Permanente, Zee Foundation, Fontana City Council members and Kaiser band alumni.
The band and community sponsors were also recognized by Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren and City Council members at the council meeting on Jan. 22, where they were celebrated for their representation of the city on a world stage.
“Kaiser High School’s Rose Parade performance serves as an example of what can happen when you work hard and set high expectations for your students,” Fontana Unified Superintendent Randal S. Bassett said. “Congratulations to Anthony Allmond and the Catamount Pride Band for realizing their dreams and setting a high bar for success that resonates throughout the District, and has brought so much pride to our community.”