Competition and Hollywood kept MHS Band busy

CONTRIBUTED MATERIAL Former Marshalltown High School band member Ann Stephens of Lawrence, Kan. contributed vintage T-R memorabilia chronicling 1969 Rose Bowl trip. Shown is MHS band practicing Dec. 29 in front of many onlookers. The band was preparing for Jan. 1 Rose Bowl parade.

Editor’s Note: This is the second of four articles featuring the Marshalltown High School band’s 1969 trip to Anaheim, Calif. to play at Disneyland. Also scheduled were performances before the Iowa Club in Long Beach, and Rose Bowl parade in Pasadena. Accompanying the group was Times-Republican reporter Lois Jacobs. The first installment centered on Dec. 28 and 29 events and performances.

Dec. 30 proved to be another action-packed day for the band and chaperones with television taping in Pasadena at City Hall Plaza. It would be part of a 30-minute competition show “Tournament of Roses Band Time” featuring nine bands to be shown on NBC-TV prior to the Jan. 1 parade. Television personality Gary Owens of “Laugh In” fame was the commentator.

MHS finished second behind White Oaks Texas, band member Ann (Schlesinger) Stephens said.

The MHS Band took first place as the largest band with 164 members, Stephens said.

In addition to the competing bands, the McDonald’s All-American High School band played a mass band number under the direction of Paul LaValle. The number – “The All American High School Band March” – was written by LaValle.

At dinner that evening, a Rose Bowl official announced Sam Akers — a former Marshalltown resident and public relations director for the Tournament of Roses parade — had arranged for a number of Rose Bowl game tickets to be given to the MHS band contingent. Making that possible was a scheduling conflict which prevented then President Richard Nixon and entourage from attending. The seats were down low on the 50-yard line. Some band members posted on Facebook that they sat elsewhere in the mammoth, nearly 93,000-seat stadium.

MHS Band’s Official Schedule – Dec. 30

Breakfast – 7 a.m.

Departure to Pasadena for NBC Program – 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Return to Charter House Hotel – 2:00 p.m. 

Lunch Charter House Hotel – 2:30 p.m.

Departure for Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Farmers Market Tour – 3:30 6 p.m.

Return to Charter House Hotel – 7:30 p.m.

Dinner at Charter House Hotel – 8:30 p.m.

Stephens has encouraged others to share their personal memories and memorabilia on the band’s Facebook page: MHS 1970 Rose Bowl Band Reunion. More than 60 band members have said they will be in Marshalltown for a reunion during the 2019 Oktemberfest. She may be contacted at


Contact Mike Donahey, 641-753-6611,