Written by Amalia Muñoz
Over this past Christmas break, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Pasadena, California and be part of the 100th consecutive Salvation Army Band to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade. It was a truly amazing experience, not only because of the incredible music we all created together, but because of the fellowship that took place.
There were many different territories of the Salvation Army represented from around the world, with musicians from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the four U.S. Territories. We all stayed at Camp Mt. Crags together and in addition to preparing for the parade, we formed eight bands in an unofficial International Music School. These mixed bands consisted of at least one representative from each territory. It was a wonderful opportunity to befriend people from other countries that we may not have met otherwise. In my horn section alone, there were bandsmen from Michigan, Australia, and New Zealand. Every section was similar to ours in that way, but entirely unique and under the leadership of incredible bandmasters from around the world. It was absolutely amazing to make music with all these talented musicians.
My favorite moment of the entire trip took place at the very end of the 5.5. mile parade (hard to believe I know). The entire 400 person band turned left and marched right into this massive tunnel. Straight ahead of us was the Sierra Madre mountain range and we actually stopped in the tunnel playing the song, “This is Our Story.” The sound was absolutely incredible. It was a very emotional moment for me. I couldn’t believe how beautiful God’s earth was and how blessed that we were to be praising God using our talents all together like that.
Overall the trip was an opportunity to grow both spiritually and musically. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I’m so grateful that I was able to go. I will always remember the wonderful people I met, things I got to see, and will forever hold the memories in my heart.