Amongst the florally flourished floats sailing through Pasadena, Cal. as part of the iconic Rose Parade was a teenage bagpiper from Manitoba.
Matthew Owen-Hunt is a member of the Lord Selkirk Robert Fraser Memorial Pipe Band.
Last year, he auditioned for Pipes on Parade, an international group of musicians from a half-dozen countries. He made the cut.
On New Year’s Day, the ensemble marched through the stretching parade route ahead of the U.S. college football Rose Bowl Game – a holiday tradition for over a century.
The five-mile parade route is notoriously physically challenging for performers.
“What a lot of the people did was they would take their pipes and play the repertoire on the treadmill while walking at the pace for five miles on the treadmill,” he said.
He took on the training regimen.
“It was gruelling.”
The Trader Joe’s float moves along the parade route at the 135th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Monday, Jan. 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
The crowd was massive, with folks camping out ahead of time to stake out their spots.
To the Prairie piper, it was thrilling to take in.
“As we got in formation and started to march, everything sort of hits you at once. You think, ‘oh there are people here. This is more people than I’ve ever had to play for before,” he recalled.
The whole experience was incredible, Owen-Hunt said.
The highlight? Meeting so many people. He says there were parade participants from 28 of the 50 U.S. states and four countries.
“It was fun meeting people from all around the world.”
– With files from Daniel Halmarson
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