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City column: Rosemount welcomed the Tournament of Roses president

Rosemount must be one of the most tuneful towns in Minnesota this week, with several musical performances marking this year's celebration of Leprechaun Days. And one group that will be performing on Saturday is especially close to our hearts - and soon to be shared with a national audience.

Rosemount High School's Irish Marching Band will have a big role as always in the Leprechaun Days Grand Parade. Their route along Rosemount's streets is just the start of a longer path that will bring them before the biggest audience of all: a spot in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on New Year's Day.

We at the city helped celebrate this accomplishment earlier this month, as we were among the hosts for a visit by the Tournament of Roses President, R. Scott Jenkins, and his wife Cindy. They are charming representatives of the Rose Parade, and they made clear what a great opportunity our young people and our community will have at this event. It's seen in person by 700,000 people, and by 39 million more on TV.

During the three-day visit, we showed off the sights and the heritage of Rosemount and the surrounding area. But I think the greatest asset our visitors saw is the group of students who take part in the RHS band program. They have put in long hours achieving a high level of musicianship. Through their hard work, our community will gain positive attention in a way that money can't buy.

They are 205 members strong, and what always impresses me is the way they are backed by their families. As the new band season began this month with rehearsals leading up to the Leprechaun Days parade, those families continued to make a big commitment - getting them to the school on time, making sure they have what they need to excel as musicians and students, and giving encouragement, going back to those first squeaky notes played in elementary school.

It is a financial commitment, too, and unfortunately a difficult one for some of our families. Already the band has gone door-to-door through much of the community asking for support. There will be additional fundraisers in the months leading up to the trip out west. If you can help, visit the website at

It's true: there are a lot of causes that could use donations these days. But the band members will be working hard and performing often on this trip. They, their families, their teachers and their school have created one of the standout attractions in Rosemount, serving as ambassadors of our community as they win state championships, and now as they perform on a national stage.

The city council and I look forward to seeing you along the parade route this Saturday, and we all look forward to seeing our band live from Pasadena, living up to the theme of this year's parade: "Dreams Come True."

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

(651) 460-6606