Band will march back to Pasadena for Tournament of Roses 2012Wednesday, October 27, 2010 By David Wyche
"You’ve just been punk’d, congratulations." Those were just the words Broughton band director Jeffrey Richardson, more commonly known as J.R, wanted to hear a few weeks ago. The Tournament of Roses Parade called Richardson on September 21st to thank him for applying and to inform him that Broughton had not been selected to participate in the 2012 parade. He received another call ten minutes later telling him that Broughton was indeed heading to Pasadena, California to march on January 2, 2012. "It is the highest honor a high school marching band can receive, known as "the Super Bowl of band events," said Richardson. Broughton made the trip for the 2008 parade, a first for a Raleigh school. It is rare for a school to be accepted twice in four years, the minimum amount of time a school must wait to reapply. Richardson began to apply for Broughton in April, submitting an 80 page notebook of information showcasing both Broughton and the band. What exactly the Tournament of Rose organization looks for in a band is largely a mystery, as the parade president has final say over what is and is not in his parade. Fewer than one percent of all high school marching bands will ever apply to participate in the parade. From those, about ten are selected along with the United States Marine Corps Band, the bands of the two participating colleges, and a few other guaranteed ensembles. In 2012, there will be a record five international bands. Having been before boded well for Broughton. "They know what they are going to get out of us," said Richardson. One of the factors looming over his decision to apply one last time for the Rose Bowl was Richardson’s retirement. After 33 years of being the Broughton band director, his only career, J.R decided it was time to hang it up. "I wanted to give one last thing to this school and this community. I have been before, and it means a lot to me, but this school and the people associated with it are the real reasons for applying," Richardsom said. Indeed, the distinction of the Tournament of Roses is as much a reflection on the Broughton community as it is the band. There is definitely a correlation between the amount time a school spends preparing to play in the parade and the amount of time a school spends preparing to play in the game. Richardson has been perfecting his band for years, and college football coaches spend their whole careers working to play in the Rose Bowl. When there is no World Cup, the Tournament of Roses is historically the most watched television program of the year. The event in 2012 will mark the first time the parade will be shown in China, as a Chinese band will be in the parade, and the viewing audience is expected to top one billion. Richardson chose junior Caroline Sprecher to be the band’s drum major, a position typically reserved for a senior, in order to ease the transition to a new band director. Having a second year drum major will definitely benefit the band in preparing for an event like the Tournament of Roses. Because the Tournament of Roses demands the applying band director to remain in charge until the parade, Richardson now plans to leave once the parade is over. Thus allowing him to leave on a high note, and allowing the next band director to come in with experienced members and a solid foundation.