Brothers to participate in Rose Parade celebration


Eric Hong, Opinion Editor

An assembly of 300 high school musicians from across the United States will march a five-and-a-half mile stretch down the streets of Pasadena as part of the Rose Parade’s annual Tournament of Roses on Jan. 2.

Joining them will be junior Ji Ho Kwak and sophomore Se Ho Kwak, who have been selected to participate in the 128th Rose Parade as part of the Bands of America Honor Band, which performs every four years.

Se Ho and Ji Ho Kwak, who are also in Diamond Bar High School’s marching band, will be playing the trumpet and saxophone, respectively.

The Honor Band, which is based in Indianapolis and represents all 50 states, is one of 21 marching bands from around the country, Japan and Mexico taking part in the New Year’s celebration.

Other participating groups include Los Angeles Unified School District’s All District High School Honor Band, the Arcadia High School Apache Marching Band and color guard and the U.S.  Air Force Total Force Band.

The brothers applied last December and submitted video recordings of scales and one of five pieces they would be playing in the parade.

Two months later, they were notified of their acceptance into the 2017 Band of America Honor Band by email, according to Se Ho Kwak.

“[I look forward to] gaining leadership skills for next year’s marching season,” Ji Ho Kwak said. “Whatever we learn [at the Rose Parade], maybe we can pass it on to marchers here and share our experience.”

Since September, they have continued submitting video recitals of the pieces they will be performing.

Four years prior, their sister, alumna Miso Kwak, who is currently at UCLA, had also participated in the 124th Rose Parade as a flutist with the BOA Honor Band.

“We wanted [being a part of the BOA] to be our Kwak tradition. That’s why Se Ho and I joined,” Ji Ho Kwak said.