Continuing the Tradition | Aggie Band Invited to 135th Annual Rose Parade

ALBERTVILLE – The Albertville Aggie Band has been invited back to Pasadena, Calif., in 2024 for the 135thAnnual Rose Parade. 

Albertville High School Director of Bands Dr. Taylor Cash announced the news during Aggie Band Alumni Night at Albertville’s football game Friday. Albertville’s 2024 performance will mark the third time the Aggie Band has marched in the Rose Parade. The first appearance was in 2011, and the second was in 2018.  

“For most directors, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. To ever think about doing it three times is really special,” said Cash. “I think it’s a much bigger event than people here are accustomed to. We’ve done it three times, so it feels normal. Some band directors go their entire careers and never get the opportunity to do it.” 

The 2024 invitation is the first major parade invitation for Cash since being named director of bands in 2020. While going to Jacksonville State University, he did his student teaching at Albertville High School and has been there ever since. In 2011 and in 2018, he joined the Aggies in Pasadena as an assistant band director. 

“The majority of bands across the nation do not get to experience this, so this is a great honor,” said Albertville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Boyd K. English. “It’s an exciting time for these students. Not only will they perform in front of millions of people, but they will also get to see new sights and experience new places. It’s something they will never forget.”

Typically held on New Year’s Day, the Rose Parade precedes the Rose Bowl college football game and in 2019 drew an estimated 800,000 in-person spectators as well as millions of television viewers. The parade route covers 5.5 miles. Conditioning to march the route will start early for the band members. 

“It’s a long parade, but the television part is at the very beginning. The adrenaline and emotion get you through that. Once you make it through the first mile, you realize there’s 4.5 miles to go, but the crowds are incredible and are as far as you can from both sides of the roads the entire way,” said Cash. “There’s nothing like it. Once you experience it, it makes everything that goes into getting there worth it.”

Cash started the extensive application process in January. He and his team compiled a portfolio with pictures, videos, a band resume and history, a community history, and more information to meet the May deadline. Cash received the news recently virtually via a Zoom meeting from the president of the Tournament of Roses, who was joined by others on the music selection committee.

This year’s band includes 340 members spanning grades 9-12. The last group to march in the 2018 Rose Parade graduated last year, which means this is a brand-new opportunity for this group of Aggies. 

At Alumni Night, each decade since the 1970s was represented. Alumni met this year’s band members and were able to see how the program is evolving and growing. 

“It was a special night. Announcing our invitation at the end made it even more special,” said Cash. “Our motto has always been ‘Continuing the Tradition’. It was cool to put that stamp at the end of it that we are continuing this tradition. It’s about continuing a legacy that’s been passed on. Each student and director have placed some brick in the foundation of the Aggie Band.” 

Cash praised the alumni for their endless support. Over 100 former band members were welcomed back to McCord Field, including the band’s six directors that have served from 1970 to the present. 

“Had the alumni band members not done what they did, we wouldn’t have the opportunities we have now. They did their part, and now they are supporting us doing our part. That’s what makes the band what it is. That’s how we are able to do what we do.” 

The future of the Aggie Band is bright, and even more growth is on the horizon. This year’s band includes 66 seniors. The number of eighth graders in the middle school band almost doubles that at 123 members. There’s also 170 in seventh grade. Plus, a brand-new band hall is expected to be complete for the fall of 2023. 

“We have the best administration in the world. Dr. (Boyd) English, Mr. (Todd) Watkins, Mr. (Jordan) Phillips and the administration at the high school are so supportive and appreciative of what the kids do. They do everything they can to support the band. It would be hard to find a more supportive administration. Without that, none of this is possible,” said Cash.

Now, Cash turns his attention towards raising money during the next year and a half to offset the cost of the trip for the students. For the 2018 trip, the Aggie Band raised more than $1 million dollars. He expects this trip to be even more expensive with the rising costs of flights, fuel and bus costs. There are also more band members this year than there was in 2018. 

“What sets Albertville apart is the tradition and the community. The community just rallies around the band, and they respect the tradition. Lots of them were in the band themselves. You can call up local businesses, and they’re always ready to help,” said Cash. “Combine the community, the administration, the businesses and the kids, and it’s a perfect formula for success. It’s something that doesn’t happen everywhere, and we recognize and appreciate that.”

band in black and red uniforms standing in the bleachers at a football stadium

2022-2023 Albertville High School Aggie Band