When the nearly 300-member Bands of America Honors Band marched in the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day, the percussion section was under the watchful eye of Thom Hannum, associate director of the Minuteman Marching Band, who wrote their music and prepped them for the national spotlight.
During an eight-day stay in Pasadena, Hannum helped the 27 percussionists rehearse not only for the nationally televised parade but for performances at Disneyland and area venues.
“There are 1.25 million people along the parade route,” said Hannum. “It’s a very welcoming and inviting atmosphere.”
This was the third time Hannum has worked with the band, but this appearance had an extra appeal: his son William, who attends Hopkins Academy in Hadley, was a banner carrier with the honors band, whose membership included mostly high school students from 35 states.
The musicians and others in the parade had quite a workout, Hannum noted, because the route is an unusually long 5.5 miles. “It’s a marathon,” he said.
Hannum first became involved with Bands of America through George N. Parks, the late director of the Minuteman Marching Band. This was the third time Hannum worked with the honors band, which performs at four-year intervals in the parade.