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Norfolkans march in Tournament of Roses parade

January 12, 2019

Jacob North spent the morning of New Year’s Day marching 5.5 miles.

And the youth development coordinator for the Salvation Army in Norfolk said he will do it again if the opportunity arises.

As a member of The Salvation Army’s territorial youth band, North — along with his wife, Kiley — joined other Salvation Army band members from around the world to march in the 130th annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif.

North, who has served Norfolk’s Salvation Army for the past eight months, said the experience is one he won’t soon forget.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “It doesn’t feel as long as it is. The crowd just energizes you like you would not believe.”

The Norths learned last May that they would have an opportunity to march in the 2019 parade, which marked the 100th consecutive year the Salvation Army has marched in the Rose parade.

They were among seven Nebraskans — four others were from Lincoln and one was from Omaha — who were part of the central territorial youth band who were able to march with the group of more than 400 musicians.

North — whose parents serve as captains at the Salvation Army in Iowa City — said he grew up in a musical family. He and his four siblings each play at least five instruments, and he’s been involved in the Salvation Army since he was nine years old.

He started out playing the euphonium and eventually wound up playing tuba his senior year of high school. North played the Sousaphone — a marching tuba — in the Rose parade. His wife marched while playing the baritone.

North said they had about five hours to practice with the entire group before marching. The two musical selections — “This Is My Story” and “Amazing Grace” arranged by Kevin Larsson — were sent to them in advance of the trip so they could be memorized.

The entire band consisted of more than 400 musicians from nine countries: Australia, New Zealand, Chile, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, the United States and Canada.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “It’s just amazing how 400-plus musicians from around the world can get together for basically five hours of practice and do as well as we did.”

While in California, the Norths also participated in an unofficial international music school, where they had the opportunity to play with other youth band members from outside of their territory.

In addition to playing, North said they also were able to take in the different entries in the parade. The Salvation Army band was the 56th of 91 entries, he said.

North said marching in the parade was something he would definitely do again if the opportunity arises.

“To see the amount of musicians we had from nine different countries — some of them not even speak the same language — all play together for the glory of God, it was a great experience,” he said.

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