On Sunday, Nov. 29, members of the Loyola Mighty Roar participated in the 84th annual Hollywood Christmas Parade hosted by Grand Marshals Penn and Teller. The Los Angeles Catholic Schools Band (LACSB), founded in 2013 by Chaminade High School’s band director Mr. Ken Hoffman, was one of 14 bands that participated in the parade. For the third year in row, selected Cubs were invited to participate in the event with Mr. Hoffman’s band.
Students across southern California were given the chance to join the parade, which featured Catholic schools from all over the region. Sophomore Rory Cameron, who played the tenor saxophone in the parade, said about the application process, “All you had to do to march with the band was send an email to the Chaminade band director, Ken Hoffman, and show up to the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. practice the day before the parade. However, the drumline members had to send in an audition tape to be selected to play.”
Senior Josh Patterson, a snare drummer, said that for the auditions, students had to send in a video of themselves playing a song with their instrument. He also said that there were over 200 Catholic high school students who applied for the positions, and Mr. Hoffman selected those he thought would be best suited for each role. Loyola had five students that were picked to perform in the festivity, its largest contribution to the multi-school event.
Mr. Hoffman notified the musicians two weeks prior to the parade that they had made the cut. “Once we were informed that we passed the auditions, we were told that we would practice the Saturday before the event,” said Patterson.
Practice began on Saturday, Nov. 28 early in the morning. The musicians were categorized into groups based on which instrument they played. They trained the entire afternoon and learned two Christmas songs, “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “Santa’s Holly Jolly Christmas,” that they would later perform on Sunday during the parade.
On the day of the event, band members arrived on Hollywood Blvd. late in the afternoon to prepare. The five mile parade began at Orange and Hollywood Blvd. and ended at Sunset Blvd. The event began at 5 p.m. and was even broadcasted on television in a two-hour special.
“Each year the LACSB grows in experience and with quality. We were able to do much more in much less time [than last year],” Mr. Hoffman said. “In addition, when the parade had a need (the introductory song for Santa), the LACSB was able to step in at the last minute to provide that service to the organizers.”
Cameron said, “It was really cool being a part of such a big band. With so many schools, not very many people knew one another, but everyone felt welcome and encouraged to play.”
Patterson added, “I had a really fun time and enjoyed performing in the parade. Through my three years [of participating], I have made many new friendships and learned many new Christmas songs. The Christmas parade is a great way to get into the holiday spirit.”